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Comparing Othello's Two Speeches: Act I, Scene Iii, (126 169) & Act V, Scene Ii, (1 23) In Relation To His Feelings Towards His Wife, Desdemona.

2392 words - 10 pages

OthelloTextual analysis - Take home* * *I n Shakespeare's Othello, the protagonist, Othello, changes his attitude towards his wife, and indeed all women, through the course of the play, initially viewing her as the nurturing figure to later perceiving her to have taken on the completely opposite role of 'the temptress'. Two speeches, in particular, Act I, scene iii, (126-169) & Act V, scene ii, (1-23), spoken by Othello, not only reflect the prevalent themes of the play but enable the audience to recognise the transition of feelings he undergoes in regards to his wife, Desdemona. This change is revealed through the use of language and imagery which also serve to introduce us to the major concerns of the play and the prevailing attitude, of Othello, towards this wife and to women in general.Throughout history women have been marginalised on the basis of their sex with traditional female gender roles having two extremes, neither being very positive. Women, traditionally, either take on the passive or the active role, and neither role, not even the active role, contains much power. The nurturer is covert, emotional, caring and passive holding no real power. The temptress is more overt, less emotional, self-centred and active, holding only slightly more power than the nurturer which is solely sexual. The traditional male role the provider and protector, possessing great power over women as they 'need' a male to survive. It is what women must give in return for their 'being looked after' that has created the two traditional roles; the male will provide the female with shelter, food and security and in return he needs just two things from them: to be cared about and sexual fulfilment.Some central themes or concerns of Othello, presented overtly throughout the play, are that of love, jealousy and appearance versus reality. This is an interesting trio of themes and when linked together form a thick and perplexing plot: when love flourishes, so can jealousy; but if the other common theme, in the play, is to do with things not beings what they seem, then feelings of lust and pity can be mistaken for love, and jealousy can be brought on by a lie. In the two speeches by Othello, all of this is expressed. In both speeches love is conveyed but in each speech it is seen and acted upon quite differently, and in the second speech jealousy is very distinct whereas the first speech jealousy is not an issue. Othello's first speech is full of love, both love towards a companion and love towards a wife (their love too new and fresh to be concerned with a negative emotion such as jealousy).Othello mentions the mutual love for Desdemona's father, Brabantio as a long-time friend: "Her father loved me, oft invited me"?(1sp,126). This does not just show fond feelings for his father-in-law but also reveals his gender values. He mentions Brabantio, a male, before Desdemona, a female, even though she is his wife. Othello establishes Brabantio first as Desdemona is...

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