• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

SHAKESPEARES OTHELLO GCSE COURSEWORK

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

SHAKESPEARE'S OTHELLO GCSE COURSEWORK Question 1: Looking at the characters of Desdemona, Othello and Iago, how does Shakespeare present the rising paranoia in Othello's mind and the skilful manipulation of him by Iago? Act III Scene 3 is arguably the most important scene in Othello: Shakespeare uses this scene to plant the seeds of suspicion and jealousy in Othello's mind. Iago begins his journey to seek revenge by the use of careful and subtle innuendos. Without actually saying much, Iago successfully manages to manipulate Othello into believing in Desdemona's supposed 'unfaithfulness'. Shakespeare skilfully directs Iago's first line in the scene: "Ha, I like not that" (3.3.34) to be an aside with is not intended for Othello's hearing. Othello immediately seizes the bait and is drawn in by Iago's calculated insinuation. Throughout the entire interaction, Iago carefully chooses his words, often repeating what Othello says, without uttering any particularly incriminating words; he manages to bring Othello to the belief that Desdemona's infidelity is real. The line: "no sure, I cannot think it that he would steal away so guilt-like seeing you coming" (3.3.57) is the most incriminating thing he says about Cassio. This begins the uneasy thoughts in Othello's mind, which rise to extreme paranoia resulting in the dramatic and violent final scene. Shakespeare has carefully constructs Iago's character to appear honest and virtuous, although in reality he is evil and scheming: throughout the play he is referred to as ...read more.

Middle

A recurring theme throughout play is the animal imagery with reference to Othello and his relationship with Desdemona; i.e. savage, illiterate and beneath the true Venetian society. Iago calls Othello a "Barbary horse," an "old black ram," and also tells Brabantio that his daughter and Othello are "making the beast with two backs" (1.1.117-118). Cassio complains that, when drunk, he is "by and by a fool, and presently a beast!" (2.3. 284-285). The animal imagery used by Iago "prime as goats, as hot as monkeys" greatly disturbs Othello and fuels his rising paranoia. The great tragedy of Othello's downfall is that Othello is actually introduced to the audience as a collected and secure man, with great power and control over his life. For example, in Act 1 Scene 2 lines 80-3, when Othello is the source of Brabantio's rage, Othello says "Hold your hands, both of you of my inclining and the rest. Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it without a prompter". Othello is na�ve about social arts and because of this, later in the play; he allows his victorious military experiences to cross into his social life in a bid to regain the acceptance and control he had experienced as a leader in the Venetian army. Othello trusted and relied on 'honest' Iago in military situations and Iago uses that trust when he begins to scheme to discredit Cassio and Desdemona. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare uses the common knowledge, opinions and prejudices of his Jacobean audience to set the stage for this play. During Shakespearean times, marriage was seen as a way for families to improve their status. Parents would try to arrange marriages that would bring financial and social advantages. By law, all young women were the property of men, beginning with the head of their family, then father or eldest brother and, following their marriage, the property of their husband. It was the wife's duty to obey their husband. It was in this context that Jacobean audiences would have viewed Desdemona's actions. So in act III, scene 3, an audience would have been shocked to see her strongly criticize Othello for responding to her requests for him (to meet with Cassio and reinstate him as his lieutenant) so grudgingly and hesitantly. Those who viewed the play in the 17th century would be familiar with the racist terms used when insulting Othello, and find them acceptable. Many could actually relate with Brabantio's beliefs that his daughter has been stolen from him by magic "charms," and would feel that the mixed partnership of Desdemona and Othello was wrong. Shakespeare manages to challenge these racist morals by having a black hero and white villain. He also shows that Desdemona and Othello have true loving feeling towards each other and even though they are from different cultures and heritages, it is Iago's manipulation that drives them apart, not their ethnic origins. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Explore Shakespeare's presentation of jealousy in 'Othello'

    4 star(s)

    tone throughout even after he's killed Desdemona and realised how wrong he was about his beloved wife. Othello constantly asked Iago for proof before he acted upon his suspicions; this proof eventually comes in the form of the handkerchief a multiple metaphor for the whole play.

  2. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    In Iago's exploitation of Cassio, it is clear to see that, although evil in his deeds, Iago is strictly motivated by his hunger for power. As mentioned earlier, Iago's main intention lies in the degradation of Othello. Iago feels that he was best suited to hold the position of lieutenant, as opposed to Michael Cassio.

  1. How does Iago manipulate characters and bring about their downfall in Shakespeare's Othello?

    the other characters are unaware of what is said during a soliloquy because it is said in their thoughts. Iago uses this soliloquy to tell the audience his plan for bringing about Othello's downfall. Iago thinks up his excuse if he gets caught, " I hate the Moor, and it

  2. Is Desdemona a figure of weakness or strength? Discuss with relation to one key ...

    However Shakespeare may have created Desdemona as a refection of his renaissance thinking to rebel against her fathers oppression. The other approach is more subtle; the rebellion could just be apart of her personality considering there are repetitions of the rebellion.

  1. How Does Iago Successfully Manipulate Othello in Shakespeare

    When Desdemona and Cassio (witnessed by Emilia) are speaking of Cassio's penance to Othello, Iago speaks to Othello from a distance, overlooking the conversation between Desdemona and Cassio, of how he is suspicious of Cassio's adulterous motives. Iago uses various tactics to incriminate Cassio from here on in the story.

  2. A Comparison of Women in Shakespeare's Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and A Midsummer ...

    She is Desdemona's confidant and thus gives the audience a reason to trust her. Emilia is the potential mediator of marital love. She is also essential to the play's outcome. She is, in fact, dramatically and symbolically Othello's fulcrum. However much the audience and Desdemona equally trust Emilia, Iago, her manipulative husband, perhaps should not.

  1. William Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello

    Lady Macbeth's character is also deceiving. To the ignorant outside world, Lady Macbeth portrays an innocent and harmless woman. When Duncan arrives at her castle, he unknowingly refers to her as a "Fair and noble hostess" (I, vii, 24). Her deceitful and manipulative nature (Lee, 2)

  2. Consider the role of Iago in Act III Scene 3 and show how Shakespeare ...

    This will make Othello feel agitated. We the audience notice that Othello's speeches have been reduced to single short sentences we can infer from this that he has also been emotionally reduced. On the other hand Iago has long flowing sentences which implies that Shakespeare is trying to show that

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work