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Shakespeare Makes The Change In Othello In Act Iii Scene Iii Dramatically Credible

3648 words - 15 pages

Shakespeare Makes the Change in Othello in Act III Scene iii Dramatically Credible

In order for us to be able to judge how credible Othello's change is
in Act III Scene iii, we must also take into account how credible
Iago's actions are.

This is the turning point of the play, and Othello begins the scene in
a loving manner, expressing his love for Desdemona, yet by the end,
Iago has fed him so much poison, that he is declaring his hate for
her, and is willing to kill her. It is the longest scene in the play,
obviously to help give the poison time to sink in to Othello, and also
to help us see how effective Iago really is. One must also consider a
woman's status or social standing in Elizabethan society, to be able
to say whether how Othello treats Desdemona towards the end of the
scene. Women weren't considered as high as men in the hierarchy of
Elizabethan society, and were generally treated quite badly, which is
quite ironic as the most powerful person in Britain at the time was
queen Elizabeth. The Scene is split up into various sections, just as
Iago's attempt to poison Othello is split up.

The scene opens with Desdemona pledging to help Cassio. In effect, she
is walking straight into Iago's trap, which we learn about in Act III
scene i. There is a bit of irony in this section, as even though she
is falling into Iago's trap (obviously without knowing it) she
mentions that Iago's honest when she says, 'O, that's an honest
fellow'. This issue is arisen throughout the play: does anybody
realise that Iago is feeding this poison to Othello, and that he is in
fact not at all as honest as he seems?

Just before Iago and Othello enters, Desdemona states, 'Thy solicitor
should rather die than give thy cause away', this is another example
of irony, yet this is dramatic irony with hindsight, as we later see
that Desdemona does die, and as she said she hasn't given Cassio's
cause away.

After Cassio's exit, we first start to see Iago's poison very slowly
starting to edge in. On his entry, Iago says, 'Ha! I like not that.'
It's a small, very subtle statement, yet Othello does pick up on it
and Iago claims he didn't mean anything by it. Iago then first
introduces us to his technique used when slowly feeding Othello the
poison. He never actually accuses anyone of anything, he just implies
it. He gives Othello the impression that Cassio has something to hide.
By doing this, he can let Othello develop his own story in his mind,
which in effect is much more effective than if Iago feeds him a story
himself.

As we move on, Desdemona starts pleading to Othello to give Cassio his
position back. Her attitude is very playful, and childlike. This works
very well for Iago as it fits in nicely with what he told Othello at
the beginning; if Cassio wasn't guilty of something, then would
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