Visual Images in Harry Mulisch's 'the Assault' and Shakespeare's 'Othello' (English Lang/Lit Paper 2)

1295 Words6 Pages
4. I always start with a visual image”, is the way one writer describes the beginning of his work. In two works you have studied, identify one of the earliest visual images you recall from the work and explain how the writer uses it to engage the reader in a part or the whole of the work. Captivating imagery is the goal of many authors. Both Harry Mulisch in his post-war study The Assault and William Shakespeare in his tragedy Othello use visual imagery in early in their works that not only stand out uniquely to the reader but also show continuous significance in later parts. The authors use these images to add contextual depth, continuity and elements of foreshadowing through specific linguistic choices relating to imagery, context and structure. One of the earliest images in The Assault is that of Anton‘s father, Willem Steenwijk, sitting at a table right after Fake Ploeg is murdered. The image seems insignificant but becomes more memorable through the contrast that it is presented in: “[The french doors] burst open with a crash, sending strips of paper insulation flying, and suddenly Anton saw his father‘s silhouette outlined against the snow. He was still sitting at the table.“ (p. 21) It is precisely the stark shift in the dynamic of the story - from the sudden chaos of Ploeg’s murder and the violent slamming of the door to this silent man sitting motionlessly - that captivates the reader. Interestingly, Mr Steenwijk did not just sit down at that moment; he spends the entire beginning of the novel’s first episode seated at this table, reading a book, helping his son with his Latin and generally conveying an air of quiet but firm stoicism. By sitting at that table before, during and after Ploeg’s murder, Willem Steenwijk becomes a constant in the rapid unraveling of young Anton’s life in episode one. It is also important to note that after the murder,

More about Visual Images in Harry Mulisch's 'the Assault' and Shakespeare's 'Othello' (English Lang/Lit Paper 2)

Open Document