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Several critics have suggested that Act 1of Othello is superfluous. To what extent is this Act important to the character of Othello?

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Several critics have suggested that Act 1of Othello is superfluous. To what extent is this Act important to the character of Othello? The first act of Othello is important in setting up not only the plot of the play, but the 'Othello's' characteristics. Act one gives an insight to 'Othello's' character and the opinions of the people he is surrounded by. This is informative for the audience as it will help their understanding of 'Othello's' actions later in the play. Shakespeare establishes different components of 'Othello's' character in act one. We first learn that he is the conventional tragic hero who is portrayed through his actions and words. Through the attitudes of surrounding characters, we detect that he is an outsider because of his ethnicity, however in act one the audience sees he is able to rise above the racism which shows his nobility. We also discover his love for 'Desdemona,' who loves 'Othello' for his struggle, which reinstates his heroism. 'Othello's' goodness does not always work for him. The vice character of this play 'Iago' deceitfully plots against him for both personal and professional reasons, which results in 'Othello's' fate in the end of the play. ...read more.


However these characteristics does not always work for him. Along side with the noble characteristics, comes the gullible nature, and this is the early signs of 'Othello's' flaws, which leads me to contemplate if 'Othello' really fulfils the heroism label. Act one is important in establishing the qualities of 'Othello' that gives the title tragic hero. It introduces his personality so that in the latter part of the play we can interpret the reasons behind his actions and witness his character development. Act one is important in establishing the fact 'Othello' is an outsider. 'Othello' is different in many ways compared to other characters. The main feature, which makes him unique from other characters, is his race. The fact 'Othello' is black is harshly remarked upon. 'Othello' is referred to as "thick-lips," and when 'Iago' is deceitfully and intentionally spilling the beans to 'Brabantio' about 'Othello's' and 'Desdemona's' newly marriage, he refers to 'Othello' as an "old black ram." Shakespeare uses harsh terms to reveal to the audience how 'Othello' is seen by others in the play. 'Othello' does not hear this but the audience does and the audience can view the racism during that time period. ...read more.


However it is this very thing which can lead to his downfall. Brabantio warns 'Othello' against trusting 'Desdemona', but his love for her is too strong and stands by his woman. This could be taken as a hint on how the play might progress. The newly solid relationship between the lovers connects in with what Bradley says about 'Othello.' 'Othello' is supposed to be the "most" romantic of all Shakespearean lovers, and he has been able to lull 'Desdemona' away from the negative comments and the frowns that come from her father. Traditionally tragic heroes have a lover, and in act one that is shown, and their love story is told, which is why act one is not superfluous. The first act of each play is important because the plot of the play has to begin. The small background knowledge, which needs to be known either about the character or the setting of the play. In this case the first act establishes 'Othello's' character and his relationship with his wife. His qualities have to be stated so that his later actions can be connected with that making act one important. Act one also gives early indications to 'Othello's' flaws, such as his naivety. The audience is also given indications about the future of 'Othello' in act one therefore the audience would not be too surprised what the fate of 'Othello' could be. 1 ...read more.

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