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Shakespeares Othello - By the end of act II, the play has the potential to end in tragedy. How far do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

By the end of act II, the play has the potential to end in tragedy. How far do you agree with this statement? I agree with this statement, as after reading through and analysing the text, I have discovered that there are a number of factors that occur during acts I and II that prove that the play has the potential to and will ultimately end in tragedy. Shakespearean tragedies contain certain elements based on the Greek format. A Jacobean audience would be able to identify these elements during the play, and therefore come to a conclusion that the play would end in tragic circumstances. In order for the play to become a tragedy, a character of noble stature (a hero) must be evident throughout, in this case, Othello. This character must also contain a weakness or flaw which will lead to his downfall at the end of the play. This does apply to the character Othello who contains the fatal weakness of an uncontrollable love for Desdemona and when paired with Iago's manipulative mind, will lead to Othello's downfall at the end of the play. The hero must also suffer as a result, and while suffering, must learn about himself and the world that he lives in. ...read more.

Middle

Another person that is easily manipulated by Iago is Roderigo. Roderigo is a key figure in Iago's ruthless plan. It is clear that he is being used by Iago to create tension between other characters, such as when he starts a fight with Cassio, which eventually results in the demoting of Cassio, which is exactly what Iago wished to achieve. The irony in that particular event is clear when Othello demands an explanation for what happened, he turns to 'Honest Iago'. This shows us that Iago's plan was working, as Cassio's reputation has been destroyed, and furthers the idea that the play can end in tragedy. Roderigo also bears a resemblance to Othello, in a way that he also has a love for Desdemona. Iago also uses this to his advantage as he makes Roderigo think that Desdemona and Othello's marriage is useless. This is shown in act one scene three when he quotes 'it cannot be long before Desdemona continues her love for the Moor'. This is clearly a lie, yet it is believed by Roderigo. This reveals to us Iago's manipulative ability, which he will use on other characters as well, such as Othello, to bring them to their downfall and end the play in disaster. ...read more.

Conclusion

This furthers his suspicion that she has had an affair with Cassio coupled with the fact that Cassio is 'built to make women unfaithful', as he seems to be more worthy of her than Othello. Her father, Brabantio also warns Othello after she married him by saying 'Look to her, Moor if thou eyes to see: she hath deceived her father and may thee.' Othello could also base suspicion upon this which makes it easier for him to see why she would have an affair with someone else, deceiving him. Desdemona also points out to her servant Emilia that her mother had died while singing a song called 'Willow'. It is curious that Desdemona also sings the same song on the night that she will eventually die herself, and this can be used to predict her eventual death. After looking at all of the facts that I have listed in this essay, it is clear that there are numbers of elements that foreshadow the tragedy occurring. The fact that Iago tells the audience what he intends to do in a soliloquy in the beginning of the play is crucial as the audience is prepared for a seemingly tragic ending. Dariush Kamyab ...read more.

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