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Turn to Act 4 Scene 3. In what ways and how successfully does Shakespeare build up dramatic tension in this scene?

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Introduction

Turn to Act 4 Scene 3. In what ways and how successfully does Shakespeare build up dramatic tension in this scene? Shakespeare employs the use of dramatic devices to signify the approaching climax of the play throughout "Othello". With Act 4, scene 3 being the final scene to involve Desdemona before her murder, the use of such dramatic devices is prevalent in order to create tension. The scene begins with tension, as Lodovico promptly attempts to escape Othello's company (pg 152, line 245). This behaviour can be attributed towards his disgusted reaction at having recently seen Othello's public humiliation of Desdemona. Lodovico bids Desdemona goodnight with graciousness and reverence. Subsequent to the event that Lodovico has just witnessed, his behaviour appears to be a deliberate defiance of Othello's wishes, and thus creates dramatic tension. Further dramatic tension is created in Lodovico's polite address towards Desdemona being contrasted with Othello's domineering commands (pg153, lines1-10). ...read more.

Middle

Desdemona places her role as a wife above the value of her own life. In encapsulating her utter veneration for Othello, Shakespeare makes the incident of her death a true tragedy. Desdemona narrates the unfortunate story of her mother's maid Barbary... "...he she loved proved mad and did forsake her. She had a song of willow... and she died singing it" (pg 154, lines 24- 32). Shakespeare alludes to foreboding through his depiction of the similarities between the predicaments of Desdemona and Barbary.. Earlier during the play, Othello is described as a Barbary horse, further stressing the association between Desdemona and Barbary. Barbary is ultimately a metaphor for Desdemona. Shakespeare's intention is to illustrate the inevitable end that both Desdemona and Barbary share as tragic, in portraying them to be ultimate victims. Like Barbary, Desdemona does not condemn Othello for his behaviour, and she accepts his contempt with conviction; "Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve" (pg 155, line 49). ...read more.

Conclusion

Emilia's length of speech increases in her argument that husbands are to blame for their wives being immoral, evidently to portray her passionate stance on the subject (pg 156, lines 84- 102). Her general tone is bitter, suggesting that the issues which she addresses refer to her own personal life. Shakespeare displays the usually calm and collected pragmatic shrewd of the play in a passionate ramble in order to enhance the dramatic tension. Emilia's attempt to divert Desdemona from the serious implications of her speech is apparent through her application of a rhyming couplet finale. This attempt is clearly successful, as Desdemona too ends her speech in rhyming couplet, with the optimistic intent of learning from Emilia's mistakes; "Good night, good night. God me such uses send, Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend!" All dramatic tension appears to be instantly dissolved through this sudden change of tone. Evidently however, such tension cannot be immediately discarded, and therefore must remain underlying and masked by pretences. ...read more.

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