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Analyzing Act 1 of Othello

Analyzing Act 1 of Othello

'Once upon a time' tales are the classic stories told to children for generations. Such stories involving, usually, poor miserable souls like Cinderella who eventually find happiness and riches which give those less fortunate souls a sense of hope. Shakespeare's 'Othello' however is on the opposite ends of the spectrum. It shows the downfall from grace of the 'hero' through the chink in his armour being infiltrated, by Iago, a jealous officer who through a series of one to one conversations is able to gain the trust of all of the characters in the play and then abusing it. Although through use of dramatic Irony this can only be recognised by the audience, which allows this play to become an interactive masterpiece.

Shakespeare begins the play with a highly charged atmosphere between two characters, Iago and Roderigo. Who are discussing their General Othello when Iago slanders him

'An old black ram'

It is from this conversation that our image of this Othello is one in which he is lustful, devious and altogether loathed by all.

This conjured image is instantly discredited at the start of scene two, through the use of dramatic irony as Iago, who was formally plotting with Roderigo, against Othello, hypocritically tells Othello that he would love to have killed Roderigo when he abuses his generals honour.

'I had thought t'have yerked him here under the ribs'

'But he prated

And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms

Against your honour,'

It is now that the audience can decide on their own judgement of Othello, through his speech, his actions and his words. When challenged by Brabantio and his guards with almost imminent bloodshed, Othello, clears the air with a joke,

'Keep up the bright swords, for the dew will rust them',

It is here that Othello displays his self-control and also his leadership qualities. Which is again demonstrated when he defuses the situation again,

'Hold your hands, both you of my inclining and the rest.

Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it without a prompter,'

Before our eyes a magnificent character is being created which is more further contributed to by his speech - He respects the senators and disparages his own perfect speech, which adds modesty to the tally...

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