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To what extent does Othello's character change between the beginning of the play and the end of Act III Scene III?

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Introduction

To what extent does Othello's character change between the beginning of the play and the end of Act III Scene III? Othello was the first significant black character in English literature; his Moorish complexions would have had an immediate impact on the Elizabethan audience. Their stereotypical ideas of a Moor, viciousness, ignorance, evil and sexual immorality, is ironically seen in Iago's character. At the start of the play, Othello is the highly promoted and respected General, a man of calm integrity, a loyal and loving husband and a hero of the Venetian society. However, his noble characteristic rapidly changes under the evil influence of the jealous Iago. Although he changes drastically some of his original characteristics remain with him. When he first appears in Act I Scene II, Othello shows us his positive traits, when Iago tells him that he wanted to strike Roderigo for speaking about him. Despite this Othello tells Iago, "'Tis better as it is". This shows us Othello's calm and rational attitude, which he maintains even at a time of crisis. ...read more.

Middle

He trusts Iago to look after his wife until she joins him in Cyprus. He also repeatedly calls him "honest Iago". This is very ironic as he relies on Iago to care for Desdemona, a man he should most mistrust. He is almost too pure to think badly of others or even have any suspicion of people. He is friends with everyone and has no enemies, he trusts everyone equally and unlike Iago "wears his heart on his shoulder". He is also too gullible, and readily believed Desdemona is unfaithful. However, this could be blamed for his insecurity, he is convinced that his wife will have an affair because he is old and black. He keeps using painful wails, such as "O misery". In the beginning of Act II Scene III, we see Othello most content. Here he is with his wife whom he loves dearly, they have defeated the Turkish fleet and he has also been given the position of a General in Cyprus. This scene is a fine example of Othello's speech. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is true, as his life becomes chaos as soon as he believes his wife is being unfaithful. By the end of the scene the audience can see striking similarities between Iago and Othello's character. Their sentences seem to run into each other's - as if they are finishing off each other's sentences. Each knowing each other's monstrous plans and thoughts. Blank verse continues showing unity of the characters. They begin to address each other affectionately; Iago says, "I am your own for ever" to Othello. Their characters are united in evil and this is apparent in their speech. The movement of the passion in Othello is extremely different from that of Macbeth. In Macbeth there is a violent struggle between ambition and the conscience. In Othello, there is a conflict between contrary obsession, fuelled by love and jealousy. By the end of the play, Macbeth is totally transformed into a different character; it is greater tragedy because the character is fully aware of his actions. However, I don't believe Othello is completely transformed and he certainly isn't aware of his actions, he is blindingly driven by jealousy, which is aroused, from his love to his wife. 1 Tulin Arslan ...read more.

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