Othello Essay

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Year 11 Advanced English 2013 Assessment Task # 1 Shakespeare’s Othello takes his audience on an emotional journey of sympathy, antipathy and anxiety and an intellectual journey of the realisation of humanities flaws and the power of deception, hate and love. These journeys are experienced throughout the whole play but are extremely evident in Act 2, Scene 1 and Act 5, Scene 2. Through the use of dramatic techniques such as soliloquies, dramatic irony, symbolism and the five act structure Shakespeare is able to involve the audience in the play and take them through catharsis and the emotional journey. Using these techniques he also allows the audience to learn about things such as humanity, its flaws, and the mistreatment of women and the power of deception, hate and love and take them on an intellectual journey. In Act 2, Scene 1 the audience is taken on both an emotional and intellectual journey. The intellectual journey in this scene shows the mistreatment of women and the power of deception and hate. During the scene Iago criticizes women in general as deceptive and hypocritical, saying they are lazy in all matters except sex: Act2, Scene1, Line 118 “You rise to play and go to bed to work”. As Iago continues to belittle women, the audience realises that he has no respect for women and believes they are all whores. This shows the extreme mistreatment of women and also contributes to the emotional journey as the audience sympathises with the women and begin to hate Iago for his disrespect for women. Only a little while later in the scene Cassio talks privately to Desdemona and is seen holding her hand by Iago. Although just a gesture of politeness, Iago decides to use it as a weapon to destroy Cassio’s rank and drive a wedge between Othello and Desdemona. Act 2, Scene 1, Line 169 “With as little a web as this I will ensnare as great a fly as Cassio,” he asserts.

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