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What contradictory perceptions of Othello and Desdemona have you formed so far in Act One.

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What contradictory perceptions of Othello and Desdemona have you formed so far in Act One 20/9/03 There are a number of contradictory perceptions of Othello and Desdemona in Act One as each character views them from a different perspective according to their relationship with them. Immediately in Act One we are introduced to how the characters Iago and Roderigo view Othello as they describe him as 'an old black ram' and a 'Barbary horse'. This perception of Othello draws attention to his sexual appetite and race and creates the impression that Othello is like a wild, uncontrollable beast who behaves in a bestial manner towards his sexual prey. This insight of Othello is however a sharp contrast with the Duke's view as he describes him as 'more fair than black' which implies that he is a pillar of society and is valiant and respected. On closer inspection, one can infer that perhaps Iago's view is critical of Othello as he is jealous of him as he is only an 'Ancient' therefore is inferior to Othello. Another opinion of Othello is that he is a 'foul thief' that has 'stowed' Desdemona. ...read more.


These are contradictory perceptions of Othello as they both show opposite opinions of how Othello was regarded. Othello claims to be an ineloquent and deficient speaker and says that 'Rude am I in speech'. This perception of himself however, is proved contradictory to the actual way he does speak as his speech is very articulate, eloquent, respectful and flattering. His speech is so good that the Duke confides that his tale 'would win my daughter too' which is again a contradiction with Brabantio's allegations that Othello used magic and 'charms' to win his daughter. Othello is accused of challenging patriarchy convention when he elopes with Desdemona, however, when confronted by vitriolic and contemptuous Brabantio, he behaves responsibly, reasonably and measured despite being called a 'Barbarian'. When approached with swords he behaves contradictory to this perception by behaving in a civilised way by not fighting and insisting to Brabantio that he 'shall command with years Than with weapons.' Finally, another perception of Othello from Iago is that he is too honest, trustworthy and naive and Iago criticises his disposition. This claim is disrespectful and, as Iago is dishonest, self-regarding and deceiving, Othello's comment that 'Honest Iago' can be trusted is a contradiction. ...read more.


Desdemona is perceived as a chattel and a possession of her fathers which reveals the low and demeaning status of women and she is described as a 'lawful prize' however, contrary to this her behaviour is unconventional as she chooses her husband based on love therefore challenging her father's authority. Also perhaps there is a contradiction that she went against nature by choosing Othello as he is 'black' and a 'Moor' instead white and Venetian. Lastly, there is a contradiction between her commitment to Othello which she says 'That I did love the Moor to live with him' and Iago's view that their marriage will not last as she is shallow and only the beginning of their relationship will be passionate 'It was a violent commencement in her, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration.' So, to conclude, I would argue that Othello and Desdemona are perceived in a large number of contradictory ways as each character sees them differently such as Iago and Roderigo who, because they dislike and despise Othello, focus on his race and colour whilst the Duke sees Othello for his worth as a great, brave and inspirational military leader. ...read more.

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