The Development of Othello's Character in William Shakespeare's Play

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The Development of Othello's Character in William Shakespeare's Play At the start of the play Othello is presented as a very confident character. He is a high ranking general in the Venetian army. However during the course of the play Othello is betrayed and manipulated by Iago, and the audience observes the unravelling of his tragic flaw (jealousy) which initiates the degeneration of his character into obsession, jealousy, insanity, anger and ultimately suicide. In this essay I will demonstrate how Shakespeare presents this development to the audience, and why he chooses to do it in the way he does. To carry this task out I will initially give a brief summary of the plot of the tragedy Othello. The general marries Desdemona in secret, Iago learns of this and reports this news to Brabantio who uncomforted by the news. Then Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Cassio and Roderigo travel to Cyprus as there is threatened invasion. Just before they travel to Cyprus Iago exclaims he wants to seek revenge on Othello as the promotion to lieutenant given to Cassio. Iago decides to exploit the relationship between Othello and Desdemona. He does this by manipulating Othello into believing that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. To a Jacobean audience an affair was a dreadful crime and was by no way accepted in people’s opinions as it to day. Iago to further tamper with Othello’s thoughts gains possession of a present, which the moor had gifted to Desdemona which was a handkerchief. He uses to this to fu... ... middle of paper ... ... in character to the audience to someone who is jealous, insecure, unconfident, unsure and manipulated. In conclusion Shakespeare uses a variety of techniques to present the development of Othello’s character in the play Othello. In particular the dramatic devices those that are visual and the use of language that chart the downfall of Othello’s character from a respected general to a rambling jealous murderer who commits suicide are most effective. Shakespeare builds up tension and intrigue in the dramatic structure of the play and the intricate plot, which includes affairs, infidelity murder and betrayal would certainly have invoked an outraged response from the Jacobean audience. I feel that Shakespeare still admirably succeeds in both entertaining and possibly shocking a modern day Christian audience.
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