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With particular attention to Act III, Scene III, discuss whether Othello is a victim of circumstances or snared by his own weaknesses.

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Introduction

A2 English Literature Shakespeare's 'Othello' With particular attention to Act III, Scene III, discuss whether Othello is a victim of circumstances or snared by his own weaknesses. Shakespeare's 'Othello', believed to have been written in 1604, is one of his most popular plays, with a long and successful stage history and was one of the first plays to be performed after the theatres were reopened in 1660. As with all of Shakespeare's other plays, he had various sources of inspiration and transformed them for his own dramatic purposes, 'Othello' being no exception. Whilst his concept of a heroic Moor as the protagonist of a tragedy was an unusual one, Shakespeare set about to explore and challenge the medieval stereotypes of the black man, where they were associated with the devil, lust, sin and death. The plot of 'Othello', inspired by, and closely aligned to, a series of short stories by the Italian writer Giambattista Cinzio Giraldi, 'the Hecatommithi', differs from Shakespeare's other great tragedies as the action is more concentrated in time, after the first act has a single location and has no secondary plot which, arguably, can lead to a unique emotional intensity in the play. ...read more.

Middle

misconstrued, when Iago first speaks again after Desdemona's exit, he hints at his own bad thoughts by asking Othello a leading question. Iago manipulates Desdemona's irritation of Othello through her repeated pleas about Cassio by repeating the words "think" and "honest", causing the same effect on Othello. The audience will be aware of the fact that these two words are important to Iago's power and influence as he poisons Othello's thoughts by posing as an honest man. The agonising irony of this scene is prolonged as whilst Othello was not keen to hear his wife's honest thoughts and asked her to leave him alone, he is later impatient for Iago to reveal his dishonest and evil thoughts. What is effective in Iago's execution of convincing Othello of his wife's infidelity is not only his reluctance to reveal his thoughts but his claim that he hopes his thoughts are unjustified, "it is my nature's plague / To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy / Shapes faults that are not -". What is interesting in this exchange between Othello and Iago is that it is the Moor who introduces the subject of his wife when the issue of jealousy is discussed,. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Desdemona exits, Othello utters the words "...perdition catch my soul / But I do love thee! and when I love thee not / Chaos is come again," suggesting that Othello will be devastated if his love is destroyed. The two negative pronouns 'perdition' and 'chaos' hint at the trouble to come, undoubtedly create a sense of foreboding for the audience owing to the dramatic irony. It has been questioned as to why Othello gives into doubt and jealousy so quickly if he feels so strongly attached to his wife, however, critics have claimed that in spite of his positive qualities and calm authority as a soldier, Othello is susceptible to jealousy, impressionable and insecure. Critics of 'Othello' have referred to the writings of Aristotle, who believed that the tragic hero should not be either entirely good or evil, but should possess a fatal flaw which will incite pity and fear in the audience. Whilst some critics see Othello as faultless, others feel he is too easily moved by jealousy, however, it is in Act III Scene III that Othello's decisiveness which has stood him in good stead as a soldier in the past goes against him, as he makes up his mind too quickly. Joanna Lowe Mrs Hillyard ...read more.

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