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Compare The Presentation Of The Themes Obsession And Control Found In The Collector, Othello And The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1402 words - 6 pages

Compare the presentation of the themes obsession and control found in The Collector, Othello and The Picture of Dorian Gray
Shakespeare employs obsession as a thematic device extensively in Othello with many characters exhibiting complexes which come into direct conflict with the fixations of others, highlighting the self-destructive and all-consuming nature of obsession. This is reinforced by the climax of the play, the deaths of Othello, Desdemona and Emilia and Iago’s subsequent arrest and torture. Similarly, Dorian Gray presents various forms of obsession such as lust, infatuation and narcissism which leads, in most cases, to the destruction of the characters who are swiftly overcome by their vices or refusal to recognise the truth. This is seen most obviously with Dorian himself, his conceit and desperation to conceal his true nature causes him to eventually kill his friend and painter of the titular picture, Basil, and ultimately himself. The Collector initially utilises a much more focused portrayal of obsession, Clegg’s infatuation with Miranda and subsequent winning of the Pools subverts the traditional trope that ‘power corrupts’, Clegg was fantasizing about Miranda before he gained power, the money merely provides the resources necessary to carry out his scheme.
One of the major themes of Othello is that of jealousy, a manifestation of paranoia and obsession in itself. Iago’s burning desire to drive Othello to madness and a compulsion to disgrace those above him can be seen, with a Marxist reading, as his intense dissatisfaction with the social system he is a part of, ‘we cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly followed’. Likewise, his intellectual superiority over his betters and peers is made evident by his Machiavellian scheming and his emotional manipulation of those he targets. This discontent with the class hierarchy can also be seen in The Collector where Clegg’s obsession with his own social standing causes him to fear and resent those above him in society, ‘you despise the real bourgeois classes’, ‘la di da voice’. Despite his ‘love’ for Miranda, he views her class as a barrier between them which he cannot overcome, despite her urging for him to disregard it, ‘Stop thinking about class, she’d say. Like a rich man telling a poor man to stop thinking about money,’ and ‘There was always class between us’. This can be seen as a metaphorical representation of the shifting power distribution of the time, the rise of the middle class instigated more opportunities for working and lower class people to gain wealth and power and further blurred the line between the traditional societal divisions. Clegg is representative of the old, caste-bound patriarchy and Miranda is a pioneer of the new, less rigid system. Miranda herself, however, makes reference to her hatred of ‘the new class people with their cars and their money and their tellies and their stupid vulgarities and their stupid crawling imitations of the...

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