The Significance Of Power In William Shakespeare's Othello, Gwen Harwood’s “In The Park”, And Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

1728 words - 7 pages

Texts explore many aspects of power or lack of power including the potential of the individual or groups to use this power to enrich or challenge other people communities or ideologies to what extent is this true of Othello.

Power and lack of power have the ability to enrich, even challenge other peoples communities and beliefs. Shakespeare’s Othello is one example of a text that expresses the potency of Power and its abilities to enrich and/or Challenge. Power can be illustrated within a text through: The Power of words, the power of racial standing, the power of human emotion to overcome reason, the powerlessness of women and finally the power of reputation. We can also see these aspects ...view middle of the document...

Due to Othello’s skin tone he challenges the ideologies associated with dark toned people through his position as a Military leader, using this power to contradict the venetians ideologies, whilst also enriching the lives of people who also may be prejudiced against because of their skin tone.

Continuing on, a major factor in the whole turn of events that occurs within the play is the power of human emotion to overcome reason. Throughout the play many characters fall victim to their own emotions one example would be the infamous Iago. Almost immediately Iago’s soliloquy demonstrates to the audience the effect that hate –in this case his hate for Othello- has had on him by simply stating “I hate the Moor”. This hate is what drives the whole play and Iagos’ plot to manipulate and eventually destroy Othello. Othello is the next to fall. With his jealously of Cassio and his doubt of Desdemona the overall result is one of devastation. He takes Desdemona’s life challenging her purity and her innocence which is seen as the ultimate act of betrayal. This is the pinnacle of the effects that human emotion can have to overcome reason and not only its effects on the individual but also its effects on people surrounding them.

The powerlessness of women is an issue that has tainted the halls of history for a substantial period of time. In Shakespeare’s Othello powerlessness of women a very evident issue whether or not it was addressed at the time. Shakespeare illustrates this innocence throughout the play with the use of his character Desdemona. Desdemona may have power as a women in the beginning as she defies her father but as the play continues we see the stereotypical powerless housewife emerge. Desdemona shows how powerless she is when she totally succumbs to Othello’s might in the courtroom scene saying “Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate. So that, dear lords, if I be left behind A moth of peace and he go to the war, the rites for which I love him are bereft me, and I a heavy interim shall support by his dear absence. Let me go with him.” This is quite simply saying I love him and I would miss him so much if he were to go to war let me go with him, this shows her complete devotion to Othello and consequently Powerlessness.

The power of reputation is one that can enrich and challenge any man. In Shakespeare’s Othello we witness the power of reputation through once again "I am not what I am", Iago’s actions throughout the play show the truth of that statement, constantly using his good reputation i.e. "O, that's an honest fellow", "You advise me well... goodnight honest Iago." for dishonorable purposes. However Iago isn’t the only wielder of reputation, the power of reputation in Othello acts a boundary for many characters to stop them from being dishonorable as they do not wish to poison their reputation this, however, sometimes gets the better of them. During the play Shakespeare uses Cassio as an example of the power that reputation holds and...

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