• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

With particular reference to Act Four Scene One, explore the ways in which the audience is encouraged to respond to the theme of appearance and reality in the play 'Othello'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

With particular reference to Act Four Scene One, explore the ways in which the audience is encouraged to respond to the theme of appearance and reality in the play 'Othello'. Shakespeare's 'Othello' is a play which falls into the tragedy category. The main focus of Shakespearian Tragedies is the idea of the downfall of a hero as a result of a flaw in his character's qualities (amongst other admired qualities) which eventually becomes fatal to both the hero and those associated with him. In this play, Othello is, indeed, the eponymous hero. However, many would argue that Othello's fall from grace is in fact a combination of his own nature and the hidden depths of the people he thinks are closest to him; in particular, Iago. The opening of 'Othello' is very dramatic. The audience is presented with a lot of negativity, injustice, prejudice and hatred from the onset. Othello is a black man living in a white society, a soldier in Venice, a country full of civilians. We learn of his marriage to a Venetian woman, Desdemona. For a modern audience, this would not be something of great significance. However, an Elizabethan audience would immediately be shocked when they learn of this. Firstly, the concept of Venetian women marrying outside of Venice, not to speak of marrying outside the race was almost unheard of. Secondly, Venetian women were considered to be very pure, both sexually and in character. ...read more.

Middle

Secondly, the audience learn a lot more about the theme of appearance and reality in this scene. A lot of this is achieved through simply watching. For example, they learn that the traveller's accounts of foreigners are very inaccurate when Othello is presented to them as a very normal, handsome human being with dark skin, and not as the one-eyed monster many of them would no doubt be expecting. They also learn that Othello is held in very high regard in Venice simply by the fact that he has beautiful lodgings and servants. This would leave the audience very stunned and possibly even confused as not only would all of their expectations of Othello have been contradicted, but it would appear that the 'reports' of Iago, Brabantio and Roderigo have been false. All of this is achieved without Othello even speaking. However, the audience is further warmed to Othello when he is called before the senate by Brabantio in Act I Scene 3. He is now aware of Brabantio's anger, yet he does not appear phased by this, even when he sees Brabantio's servants, his colleagues, pointing weapons at him. Instead he displays his leadership and authority, ordering them to put way their "bright swords". Even when Brabantio hurls accusations at him calling him a "foul thief" for using "magic", "foul charms" and "arts inhibited" to lure Desdemona away from the "curled darlings" of Venice and into his own "sooty bosom", Othello shows his humility and innocence ...read more.

Conclusion

This is what drives him to commit such a pitiless act. Tension develops in the audience as they watch this dramatic change in Othello's character. In the Elizabethan period, the audience would begin to think twice about Othello and wonder whether he is in fact the stereotype that Roderigo, Iago and Brabantio described him to be at the start of the play: the wild and barbaric moor. However, the modern audience would possibly pay more attention to Iago's motives and deception and sympathise more with Othello, because they would be aware of the inaccuracy of the stereotypical conceptions of Othello. The fact that the audience can see both the appearance and the reality is what creates the tension and drama in 'Othello'. They are able to see Iago manipulate character after character in during his orchestration of Othello's demise. They are able to see Othello's good and trusting nature manipulated and capitalised on. They are able to see both sides of every story. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to show that there are hidden depths to everything that appears to be civilised. I believe that Shakespeare's aim when writing 'Othello' was to show the audience that what one sees or hears is never what one gets. He challenges the audience's ideas about what is civilised and what is uncivilised. Venice, the setting for 'Othello' seemed to be the model for the ideal society. However the reality of Venice was actually hidden under a blanket of lies, deceit and false stereotypes. Each of these aspects is clever represented by different characters in the play. Chukwuweta Ikeh ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How does Shakespeare explore the theme of loyalty in Othello?

    3 star(s)

    When Iago makes accusations against Desdemona, Othello automatically believes him and we get the impression that, had Desdemona or Cassio been as devious as Iago, Othello's wrath could just have easily fallen upon his ancient. Cassio is both trusting and trustworthy.

  2. How Does Shakespeare Present The Theme Of The Outsider In Othello(TM) Act 1?

    unhoused free condition put into circumspection and confine for the seas's worth". Othello has used imagery in this quote with contrasting images of being within a domestic life in Venice which to him, seems like he's a prisoner, the sea image he talks about implies to the audience the immense freedom he once had while he was a soldier.

  1. Othello has been called a ‘domestic tragedy’. What part do the three women play ...

    Emilia represents a more down-to-earth, common sense woman. Her personality, like Desdemona's is feminine in many ways. For example, she is highly protective over Desdemona, acting as a mother figure to her. The femininity she represents is more mature than Desdemona's.

  2. How Does Shakespeare Present Desdemona in Acts One to Four

    In Act Two, the audience is given more and more of Desdemona's character and feelings. She has already left with Othello, even though she was advised to stay put and not go with him during the battle. The audience is left with a high level of suspense in the first Act, as we hear about many sides of her personality.

  1. othello. DISCUSS THE DRAMATIC IMPACT OF ACT 1 SCENE 3 AND ITS IMPORTANCE TO ...

    However after Desdomona makes her speech Brabantio knows that he cannot control her and says to everybody and especially Othello: "Come hither, Moor: I here do give thee that with all my heart Which, but thou hast already, with all my heart I would keep from thee.

  2. In what ways does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in the opening scene of Othello?

    When rousing Brabantio he goes about it in the least sensitive way you possibly could and uses the foulest language. We see his views on women as sexual objects "tupping your white ewe." The language he uses and the crude references he makes about sex "your daughter and the Moor

  1. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    One of the frightening things about Iago is that he takes what most of us see as good and uses those traits against them. There are several examples in this soliloquy. One example is when he refers to Cassio being a "proper" man.

  2. Othello - Examine the importance and effectiveness of Act III, scene 3, considering the ...

    The language Iago uses when describing Othello and Desdemona's relationship is extremely crude; he describes their current situation by saying: "Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise;" (1.1.89-90) These words are very crude as he is describing that they are having

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work