Summer HW; Presentation of Othello in Act1, Scene 1Watch this thread
I've been set some homework to hand in soon to 'Examine the presentation of Othello in Act 1, Scene 1' and i'm really struggling to get into any in depth analysis.
This what I've got so far(it's a VERY rough draft), could someone tell me what else i could put?
Although Othello is not physically present in the scene the main focuus of the characters in it is Othello himself. Not only is he not present, his name isn't formally mentioned either, with pronouns and epithets used in its place. Shakepeares intentions could have been to increase the audiences confusion and intrigue, making them more interested in the play or to make them create their own judgments in their mind before the introduction of the character. The scene is set in an fashion which makes the audience feel uncertain; not using ohellos name, beginning mid-conversation so the audience has to decipher what is taking place and it also takes place in darkness. The darkness could be seen as a device to heighten the theme of confusion surrounding othello or as a metaphor for not all characters being as they seem (Iago being manipulative, Othello being a loving husband).
One way in which Othello is presented in this scene is through the use of animal imagery, especially when referring to his sexuality. Othello Is described as ''an old black ram'' and desdemona as a ''white ewe'' this introduces the ideas of both animal imagery and racial connotations of black versus white. The use of 'black ' and 'white' in this extract (rather than moor) could have been done to represent the purity and innocence of Desdemona in comparison to the darkness of character in Othello, hinting that he is corrupting her innocence and purity.In reducing Othello to a ram, Iago reduces his status in a very harsh wy, stripping him of his humanity and tarnishing any idea of a loving relationshi between Othello and Desdemona.* When the paly is being performed the use of the word 'ewe' could have been done to sound like 'you' referring to Brabantio, this could reflect how Iago is trying to say that Brabantios reputation is being tarnished by his daughter being with a black person.
AN example of racism is apparent after this as Brabantio believes Iagos claim without much evidence 'belief of it opresses me already''suggesting that because Othello is black he has a preconcieved negative idea of him. However he aso says 'Though art avillian' to Iago which he later repeals, this is an example of dramatic irony as it is later reveal that Brabantio was actually right in naming Iago as the villian rather than Othello.
However, despite this highly negative first impression of Othello, the audience may doubt the authenticity of the introduced characters claims. This is for many reasons,firstly, Iago appears highly manipulative admitting that ''in following him, I follow but myself'' this is a slightly paradoxical statement meaning that he may work for Othello but only to get hiself ahead. It could also mean that all these criticisms of Othello he believees also apply to his own character. He also says he doesnt follow Othello for 'love and duty' Shakespeare prehaps intended for him to not only decieve other characters but also the audience.
Another method Shakespeare has used is the use of contradictory statements about Othello and roles that are generally not associated with certain traits and appearances. For one, he is a black general who is high up in society- higher than Iago and Roderigo- breaking generic social conventions. He is also introduced as a great warrior initial, perhaps to make the audience believe Iago in that a warrior such as Othello wouldn't be capable of loving Desdemona.
I'm going to quote in Tank Girl now so she can move your thread to the right place if it's needed.