In what ways does Shakspeares presentation of the character of Othello contradict Othellos presentation by Iago and Rodgerigo in Act One. Essay

881 WordsOct 24, 20084 Pages
Othello’s contrasting introduction in Act one forces the audience to form their own judgements on him. Iago and Roderigo initially present Othello in a negative manner. Only through their racist phases does the audience learn that he is dark skinned and Iago’s hatred for Othello undermines his ability as a general. This negative image of Othello is also supported by Brabantio's reaction to Othellos elopement with his daughter. However when Othello first appears on stage his courageous and honest attitude, conflicts Iago’s former presentation of him. These contradictory portrayals compel the audience to assemble their own judgement from the views and facts presented to them. In Act one Scene one, the audience quickly learns Iago’s attitude towards Othello. Iago’s hostility is explained when Roderigo questions Iago's loyalty to him. Iago explains that Othello’s choice to promote Cassio an inexperienced soldier “That never set a squadron in the field”, over himself has resulted in Iago to “follow him to serve my turn upon him”; appearing loyal to Othello to gain revenge. This report of Othello’s poor military choices makes the audience question Othellos ability as a general, casting Othello in a corrupt, negative light. In Act one Scene one, Brabantio’s is told of the apparent elopement between his daughter, Desdemona, and Othello. To disturb and provoke Brabantio, Iago portrays Othello incredibly negatively, using racist phases and animistic, violent images. Othello is described as “the devil” and an “old black ram” referring to his age and race, compared to Desdemona, a “white ewe”. Iago warns that Othello, “a Barbary horse” and his daughter are making “the beast with two backs”. These violent animistic images portray Othello as threatening, violent animal whose bestial sexual appetite has turned him into a rapist. He is depicted to be a perverted thief, luring the

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