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Othello's Love turning to hate.

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Introduction

Othello's Love turning to hate In William Shakespeare's Othello we are told the story of how our main character Othello is entangled into a web of deceit, dishonesty and with the intervention of his "honest" Ensign Iago, eventually his own downfall. In the very beginning of the play, we are introduced to Othello's character: a man of gentle dignity, courage, modesty and respectfulness. As the play progresses, especially in the last few scenes of Act three and throughout Act four, we are shown different ways in which Othello- " the moor" is corrupted and manipulated by Iago and how this affects his speech and actions and how his general behaviour takes a conflicting turn as he responds to those around him Interestingly the title character is not introduced in person or even by name in this initial converse, the reason for which is perhaps to create a sense of unpredictability, especially as the single reference to the target of Iago's plot is 'his Moorship'. An Elizabethan audience would generally have expected the moor (foreigner) to be the villain of the play; even in other Shakespeare plays black is closely associated with evil, including in reference to skin colour. Shakespeare would have needed to use this technique both to intrigue the audience and to develop the characters away from the clarity of distinction between villain and hero previously seen, if the audience had not questioned the villainy of Iago they might not have developed an empathy for his character and free willed spirit, which is essential for recognising the depth of character in the play. ...read more.

Middle

After such mastery on the part of Iago, it is quite understandable that Othello should be convinced of his wife's guilt, despite her protestations of innocence - after all, what rational cause does Iago have to "hate the Moor"? Besides, Desdemona's protestations are self-defeating because of her clumsy use of language - "what ignorant sin have I committed!", she exclaims, unaware that 'committed' carries adulterous connotations: he sees in her replies a caustic sarcasm and relish, that reinforce his conviction of her guilt. However, she could not possibly have committed adultery within the timing of the play. By the end of the play Iago's cunning has transformed a noble man into a pitiless, emotional wreck, of whom Desdemona can truly say: "My lord is not my lord." Another reason explaining why this scene is significant to the rest of the play, in terms of Iago's methods to destroy Othello is the ability of Iago to raise questions suggesting Casio's involvement in Othello and Desdemona's relationship. He asks these short questions insinuating about Desdemona's infidelity so that Othello starts to question his own knowledge of his relationship with Desdemona. After Iago's string of short questions: "Honest, my Lord?", and along with his deliberately vague responses: "My Lord, for aught I know", we can clearly see the tension and anxiety building up in Othello, when he screams: "Think, my Lord!" This shows the dramatic importance of how Iago's character has the ability to manipulate other characters; in particular, Othello. ...read more.

Conclusion

Othello himself is confused by who he is. At heart, though, he is a good man, and in the final stage is prepared to recognise his fateful error. Othello, though not perfect, is noble, and his behaviour is the action "Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought, / Perplexed in the extreme." When Othello begins his story of how he and Desdemona fell in love, he does not boast at all. He tells an honest account of how Desdemona began to love him for his personality, not because he had bewitched her. To protest his innocence he says to the Senate "Rude am I in my speech, And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace", to show that he has little charm which he could have bewitched her with. There are no extravagant claims or complications in his story so it seems unlikely that it would be untrue. We begin to see him as a truthful, modest man who is treated unfairly for his race. The speech in this scene is a chance for the audience to judge his character fairly. So first we see Othello being presented as a disliked figure, but this is by two people with not a great amount of authority. We then meet Othello and he presents himself as a generally pleasant person. We realise nobody sees him as a fit husband to Desdemona, but as a respected military leader. Despite Brabantio, Roderigo and Iago's efforts, Othello is presented as an innocent, honest man who is an unfortunate victim of prejudice. ...read more.

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