How does Shakespeare create character in the opening two scenes of Othello and how are the audiences expectations of Othello and Desdemona challenged in Scene III subsequently?

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Explore the ways in which Shakespeare creates character in the first two scenes of Othello. What are the audience’s expectations of the two major characters discussed (Othello and Desdemona) and in what ways are these expectation met or challenged by their eventual appearance on stage?

In the two opening scenes of Othello the personalities and machination of the play’s key characters are revealed through a combination of dialogue, action and metaphor and it is these early insights into character that lay the foundations for the audience’s appreciation of the rest of the play as their perceptions are challenged and ingrained ideologies overturned. More importantly than how individual characters are introduced is the way they are shown to interact with one another. In the first two acts base human emotions such as anger and envy as well as crucial areas of human behaviour (deceit, for example) are used to encapsulate the interpersonal rapports and conflicts between the principal roles. The relationships between Iago and Michael Cassio as well as between Roderigo and Othello are characterised by jealousy displayed as Iago bitterly recounts how much more qualified and suited he is to the post ultimately rewarded to Cassio and Roderigo dotes on his love for Desdemona whom he has lost repeatedly to Othello. Rage and hatred encapsulate the sentiments towards Othello maintained by Iago and also reveals by far the ugliest side of Iago’s personality; his unfounded adoration of other’s suffering and his insatiable yet baseless desire to make others miserable. This abhorrence is best captured by his clear prioritisation in stimulating tensions between Othello and his soon to be father-in-law rather than physically making an effort to help Roderigo. As the play opens in media res we gain an immediate and frankly unflattering introduction to Iago and Roderigo. We see
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