Shakespeare’s Othello is an Aristotelian tragedy that depicts the swift downfall of the noble moor, Othello due to his

fatal character flaws; gullibility and jealousy, which are aggravated by the ‘villain’, Iago. Although named after Othello, the play also revolves around Iago, who possesses the majority of the lines and orchestrates the main plot, the actions and minds of the other characters, thus it is difficult to determine the central figure in the play and which bears the greater responsibility for the tragedy. The theme appearance and reality, the key to Othello’s downfall, and belonging is thoroughly explored by Shakespeare through various techniques such as language and structure, and modern audiences also recognise race and the role of women as significant issues to the play. 1/1/84-137 Throughout the extract, Iago frequently references Othello to various animals in the form of venomous insults, which show his revengeful and ‘villainous’ nature. This foreshadowing effect builds tension, allowing the audience to foresee Othello’s downfall due to Iago, which is one of the integral aspects of an Aristotelian tragedy. In the previous lines in Act I, Scene I, Iago does not exhibit a notable interest in Othello’s background and race, however due to his awareness of Brabantio’s attitude to Othello’s colour, he emphasises the differences between Othello and Desdemona and Desdemona’s vulnerability through the imagery, “an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe”. This shows that Iago does not have a consistent voice, and readily adopts a tone and manner which will suit his deception, from blank verse to prose, further indicating that he will be a vital factor in Othello’s inevitable destruction. It is also emphatic in stereotyping Othello as “the other”; inferior, uncivilised and dangerous, thus showing that Othello will never achieve the acceptance he desires due to his race, although he is a highly regarded general in society. These derogatory, animal references can also be seen in the lines “you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse you’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll have coursers for cousins, and jennets for germans.” 1/3/59-170 At the beginning of this extract, Brabantio refers to “spells and medicines bought of mountebanks”, and “witchcraft”, when speaking of Othello’s courtship of Desdemona, further enforcing the stereotype of “the other” and the outsider onto Othello. However, Othello’s measured and respectful speech and mannerisms and perfect composure; he waits to speak and apologises for his lack of eloquence “Rude I am in my speech”, directly contrasts with Brabantio’s indignant and implausible accusations. Along with the

“A maiden never bold. Desdemona and with the loss of his wife’s loyalty follows the loss of belonging. Of spirit so still and quiet that her motion… to fall in love with what she feared to look on?” shows the established preconceptions on a woman’s role and nature in society. Appearance and reality is a prominent theme in this extract. which nonetheless are hinted at sufficiently for Othello to demand to know more. one of his few self-perceived passages into acceptance in the Venetian into society. conveyed by the use of short sentences and excessive exclamation marks. Othello is . Iago’s warning of jealous. and the static mood of the scene. As Othello is a black man. “It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. is his white wife. This is the consummation of Iago’s intent as from now on. as Iago is able to gain insight into Othello’s mind. the audience’s interest focuses more and more on Othello. The manner that Brabantio takes when speaking of his daughter. The issue of the role of women is also raised in this extract. as he considers the reasons for the supposed betrayal. “Think my lord”. it can be seen that Othello is a valued general in Venetian society. As Iago's poison takes hold. once controlled and confident becomes disjointed and manic.frequent arrivals of message-bearers and formal. objectifies women and demonstrates the patriarchal society of that time. Iago's deception of Othello begins with seeming reluctance to divulge troubling thoughts. “Honest my lord?”. and its implications for himself both as a private and a public man. “chaos is come again”. 3/3/90-170 Scene 3 is pivotal to the plot and to Othello’s downfall and shows Iago’s exploitation and trickery which eventually fills Othello’s mind with jealousy and murderous intent until the ending of Othello is almost inevitable. suggests that Othello’s jealousy will slowly eat into his mind until he ultimately reaches his downfall.” Is a precise portrayal of Othello’s jealousy. 4/1/23-46 This extract clearly shows both the mental and physical deterioration of Othello coordinated by Iago’s manipulation. The establishment of Othello’s nobility early on in the play is the foundation for the Aristotelian tragedy structure. The imagery “the meat it feeds on”. Othello’s speech.Dramatic irony is used by Shakespeare to foreshadow the destruction of Othello’s mind and body. Iago’s reflective questions and mirroring of Othello’s words provoke Othello to ask further about Cassio and also plant the first seeds of doubt of Desdemona’s fidelity into his mind. obedient and passive.

5/2/29-126 The beginning of Act 5. Scene 2 is the tragic climax to the play and the reason to Othello’s downfall. This evokes empathy from the audience and composes the final pieces of the tragedy. dark imagery. Shakespeare presents Othello’s point of view to the audience in a soliloquy containing poetic imagery. “O devil”. jealousy. confirms this fact. The assimilation of Iago’s language. this ocular proof is all that he requires for the conviction of Desdemona. I cannot give it vital growth again” are symbolic for the death of Desdemona. “whiter skin of hers than snow And smooth as monumental alabaster”. To Othello. to show Othello’s deep love for Desdemona. “Put out the light and then put out the light” and “When I have plucked thy rose. proving to the audience that he is good at heart but is only corrupted by his fatal flaw. . as emotions overturn rationality. “Hanged”.thoroughly convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity due to the deception of ‘the handkerchief’. into Othello’s.

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