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Why is Act 3, scene 3 the pivotal scene in Othello?

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Introduction

Amy Leigh Why is Act 3, scene 3 the pivotal scene in Othello? In this essay I am going to investigate the importance and effectiveness of Act 3 scene 3 considering its significance in terms of plot, characters and theme and its dramatic power. Throughout this scene there are striking examples of the main themes of the play, one of these being appearance and reality. Iago fools everyone in the play into believing he's honest. No one even suspects him of treachery, until the final act when Roderigo realizes how badly he's been fooled. Iago proves that evil intentions can be masked behind a facade of honesty. This theme emerges in other characters such as Brabantio who is deceived by Desdemona's reaction to Othello, assuming she fears him when she truly loves the Moor. Othello suspects that Desdemona is unfaithful, despite her innocent looks. Othello also feels he's being deceived by Cassio, whom he trusts and who appears loyal. Even Bianca, who is suspected of dishonesty, is ultimately seen as a sincere and caring woman. Finally, Othello, considered a barbarian by many in the play, is gentle and noble until driven to near-madness by the cruel manipulations of his most trusted "friend." Shakespeare dramatizes the problem by showing the consequences of trusting someone whose mask of honesty is perfect, almost to the very last. Also, another major theme in this act is Jealousy. ...read more.

Middle

Othello is also naive, particularly about women. "For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith Tiff now some nine moons wasted, they have used their dearest action in the tented field" His defence of his love for Desdemona is spoken with such heartfelt simplicity that we know the language represents a gentle and generous Othello. "My story being done, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs. She swore, in faith" There are many times when Othello openly shows his love for Desdemona, and she for him too. The actions of the character such as Desdemona, Roderigo, Emilia and Cassio are typical of them and all in turn help Iago's plot to gain pace. Throughout the play Desdemona shows nothing but love for Othello and she is nothing but virtuous. However she inevitably adds to Othello's misconceptions as she attempts to have Cassio re installed in Othello's life again. "Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord, If I have any grace or power to move you, His present reconciliation take; For if he be not one that truly loves you, That errs in ignorance and not in cunning, I have no judgment in an honest face: I prithee, call him back." Desdemona pleads as a friend but ironically by doing this she will bring about her death. Desdemona sees Othello as superior to her, and this proves to be a major downfall for her as she has no courage to fight back when accused of her infidelity. ...read more.

Conclusion

"I'll tear her all to pieces!" Othello is transformed in this scene; from a man who would deny Desdemona nothing, to the avenger swearing an oath to murder. By the end of Act 3, Othello is completely preoccupied with the mission of avenging himself on Desdemona and Cassio their supposed adulterous affair. We can clearly see that he no longer trusts Desdemona; "This honest creature doubtless sees and knows more, much more" He is convinced that he must kill her because of Iago's perverted manipulation. Othello's love for Desdemona is so great that it is better to die than to live without her. She blames herself for even her own death. The calculated destruction of her reputation ends in violence perpetrated against her when she is unjustifiably murdered. However he immediately sees what he has done, but cannot take it back. "Roast me in sulphur! Wash me in!" At the outset of this scene, we as the audience are unaware of how the play will end, however by the end of the scene we are left in no doubt that whatever outcome it has, it can only end tragically. The devastating scene comes to an end when Iago tells Othello; "My friend is dead. 'Tis done at your request." Therefore, it would seem to be that Act 3, scene 3 is the pivotal scene in which everything turns round, and nothing can ever be the same again. ...read more.

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