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

The opening of the play Othello begins with two men talking. Write about how this helps to convey dramatic tension and go to discuss the main themes of the play and Iagos character. You may consider, in comparison with the text, the opening of Ke

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Coursework: Othello The opening of the play 'Othello' begins with two men talking. Write about how this helps to convey dramatic tension and go to discuss the main themes of the play and Iago's character. You may consider, in comparison with the text, the opening of Kenneth Branagh's film version, if you wish. The opening of the play is set in a street in Venice, at night. The darkness introduces the idea of confusion. Before the scene opens, Iago has been pretending to help a young gentleman, Roderigo, who has paid him to arrange a marriage with Desdemona, a young aristocrat. We learn about two actions of the general, Othello, who has appointed Michael Cassio, rather than Iago, as his lieutenant. Othello has also eloped with Desdemona. These two actions are the cause of Iago's later actions. There is an atmosphere of bitterness. The reason for this is that Roderigo has failed to win Desdemona and Iago has seen his hopes of promotion destroyed, resulting in his hatred of both Cassio and Othello. The argument between Iago and Roderigo and the plans of Iago introduce a mood of conflict from the very beginning of the play. ...read more.

Middle

Iago admits to Roderigo that he is untrustworthy and only pretends to be loyal to Othello, 'In following him, I follow but myself' (l.59). He hides his true character, so that nobody will suspect him, 'I am not what I am' (l.66). Desdemona has deceived her father by marrying without his consent which was important in the society of the time. The way Iago appears to others makes them trust him, but their failure to understand his real nature brings about the tragedy. Iago creates the impression that he does not think very highly of women which he emphasises by his actions later in the play. The comments he makes about their relationship are put in terms of animal sexuality, with no reference to the loving feelings they later show they have for each other. His crudeness reinforces the lustful impression he wants to create of their behaviour, that they are 'making the beast with two backs' (l.115). Iago is determined to destroy Brabantio's peace of mind by waking him and telling him how his daughter has disobeyed him. His crude & aggressive approach gets Brabantio's attention and makes him see the situation between Desdemona & Othello the way Iago wants, so that Brabantio will be forced to take action. ...read more.

Conclusion

He skilfully gets himself out of trouble at the end of the scene, he goes back into the shadows because he does not want Brabantio to know who he is, since this could affect his relationship with Othello. In addition to the introduction of the major themes and the character of Iago, we also learn that Othello is an outsider, his race and his background make him different from the aristocrats he serves. The problems caused by the marriage of Desdemona and Othello are shown at the end of the scene by the negative reactions of Iago, Roderigo and Brabantio to the situation and particularly to the fact that he is black and she is white. The first scene is very important because it sets the scene the whole play. It gives us an idea of where it is being taken place, the canals, in Venice. At the start of the play we see two men whispering to one another, this adds dramatic tension. It also introduces some of the characters and suggests that the play will have a tragic ending and hints at the themes of the play. Iago is manipulating people and using them as his puppets to achieve his revenge, he admits 'I am not what I am', this gives us some idea that the play will turn out to be a tragic. 2 1 ...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

    What is the significance of Iagos Soliloquies in Othello?

    3 star(s)

    Iago takes advantage of this quality. This confuses us as and audience as, previously in the soliloquy, Iago claims to hate Othello, but then compliments him. This, again, backs up the idea that Iago loves Othello; by the way he admires Othello's good qualities.

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

    To this, Hermia responds with: What love could press Lysander from my side?... Am I not Hermia? Are you not Lysander? I am as fair now as I was erewhile. Since night you loved me; yet since night you left Why, then, you left me - O, the gods forbid!

  1. Othello Revision Notes - themes and quotes.

    "Swear thou art honest" Evidence of Iago's influence o "I am bound to thee for ever" o "Fair Devil" o "I think my wife be honest, and think she is not" o "My lord is not my lord" - Desdemona o "Iago: Will you think so?

  2. In what ways does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in the opening scene of Othello?

    are making the beast with two backs" only reinforces the audiences opinion of Iago and his potential. The use of animal imagery in the first scene is very effective and is a technique Shakespeare uses several times in order to further alarm the audience.

  1. How Does Iago's Soliloquies show His Character and Plans?

    Again Iago uses the soliloquy to tell the audience his plans, however by doing this we also realise notice Iago's quick nature to think on his feet and manipulate situations, and this gives us a small insight into his character.

  2. How is Othello and Desdemonas relationship doomed from the opening of the play?

    The word 'Moor' is constantly repeated to the audience, emphasising that Othello isn't part of Venice.

  1. "Othello and Desdemona's marriage doesn't stand a chance." Discuss.

    In spite of this I do not think that Othello will have faith in Iago, rather than his wife Desdemona. But in Act 1, Scene 3 Line 280 Othello asks Iago to take care of his wife in his absence.

  2. Why is Iago's manipulation of Othello successful?

    Highlighting the fact that he is a solider will remind Othello he is a hard working man and under Othello's command. This suggests he is trying to do what is best for Othello. Iago also apologises for telling him of this, explaining that it was only because of 'too much

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