• 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)

    When an audience looks further into Othello's jealousy, in between Othello's lines we soon discover that perhaps he is the nobler man then Iago; Iago's language is rough and coarse throughout the play whereas Othello speaks in Iambic pentameter in several of his soliloquy's, and Othello speaks with a soft

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

    The suitor must first swear that, if he fails the unknown test, he will not seek marriage after the courting of Portia. Then, the suitor is to choose between three chests simply by sight: gold, silver, or lead. If he chooses incorrectly, he wins a life devoid of marriage.

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

    but seem to be so and will as tenderly be led th'nose as asses are." Iago mentions a 'double knavery' this means that he will try to manipulate Cassio as well as Othello at the same time. Iago also uses a rhyming couplet to make his plan sound more sophisticated.

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

    Desdemona speaks her mind and makes her own decisions like in act three scene three when she is speaking to Cassio. She decides that she will "have my lord and you again." "you" is Cassio and she decides through her own will that she wants to help Cassio.

  1. In Act III Scene III, what techniques and dramatic devices are used by Shakespeare ...

    In Iago's final attack he asks Othello about the handkerchief. "Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief/Spotted with Strawberries in your wife's hand? Othello tells Iago that it was his first gift to her. Iago tells Othello that he saw Cassio wipe his beard with it.

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

    Iago continues along this path, further tormenting Barbantio. "You'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse." Iago plays up on the fact that Othello is black and describes crude images of Desdemona. Roderigo continues along this line of torment, using racial descriptions of Othello to make Barbantio feel his

  1. How Does Iago Successfully Manipulate Othello in Shakespeare

    Iago's plan however is to get Cassio drunk and for Roderigo to fight him, causing Cassio to loose his rank as Lieutenant and be replaced by Iago . Cassio gets progressively drunk during the festivities whilst Iago convinces Montano that Cassio is a drunk.

  2. 'Hell and Night must bring this Monstrous Birth into the World's Light.' How Successful ...

    Othello's reactions to these ideas tend to be ones of grief, rage, anger, suspicion and belief. These reactions are ones that Iago is striving to achieve. Every time another seed of doubt is planted in Othello's mind, Iago becomes one step closer to achieving his goal.

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