Structure in Othello

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nethmi12345
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Hi,
What are some structural devices in Othello? I'm struggling to think of any besides Freytag's pyramid.

Thank you.
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thatbooknerd
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(Original post by nethmi12345)
Hi,
What are some structural devices in Othello? I'm struggling to think of any besides Freytag's pyramid.

Thank you.
Here's my list:

The play taking place at night
• Most of the action of the play takes place at night
• Under cover of darkness people reveal the unacceptable facets of their character to the audience, however, these remain unperceived by the characters to the plays, as is the case with Iago + Roderigo.
• The play begins + ends at night, suggesting that battle between good and evil is contestably won by the forces of darkness
• Desdemona is associated with fairness, love + truth and is doomed, by the plays insistence on black, to be as extinguishable as a tiny star in a dark firmament of male machination and exploitation
• The atmosphere of war casts a dark shadow
• Chaos is represented by the coming of night + putting out of the light

Time
• Time runs too fast from the beginning of the play, interrupting hours of love with the urgency of war + not allowing anything to be completed
• The pace of the play isolates the characters + deprives them of the opp for communication
• When the play stats, an event has occurred which is already too late to reverse- and which may have impetuous- and it seems as though the marriage has created a swift chain of cause + effect which pulls in everyone else
• The audience is swept along by the chronological logic of the events but the pace makes us feel uncomfortable

Iago's solilquies
• Iago's soliloquies contribute to the feeling of speed by their content, structure + positioninh
• He can cover a lot in a few lines, seeming to not only be reacting to the quick succession of events but also creating them
• HE is able to give the impression that time and speed are on his side
• This lends him an aura of supernatural power, loading the dice against Othello and Desdemona
• Because the soliloquies comment on an action just completed and also immediately set up the next one, they seem to be the link and driving force of the plot, which is unfolding itself at breakneck speed
• They are a stream of consciousness, putting thought into words + words into deeds with no respite or pause for consideration

Lack of scene breaks
• Othello changes from a doting husband (But do I love thee! III.3.91) to a lamenting one ('Why did I marry? III.3.240) without a scene break
• That jealousy can strike and claim a victim in 150 lines demonstrates the overwhelming power of an emotion against which humans are helpless and reason is important
• Furthermore, its proof of Iago's power that he can cause a newly married man in love want to murder his wife in such a short time
• The absence of a scene break means the pressure can be applied to Othello relentlessly, and dramatic tension is kept up for the audience.
• It simultaneously makes the speed of his change shockingly fast but also more credible, because he has no time for reflection

General pattern notes
• Follow the pattern: exposition/dramatic/incitement/complication/crisis/revolution
o At the beginning of the play something occurs that disrupts the normal order of things- Othello marries Desdemona
o Chaos or disorder in society results- The peace of Venice is broken by Brabantio's men + deeper discord is created in Iago's plot
o Extreme emotions are involved- jealousy + suspicion
o Social restraint disintegrates- Othello discards normal restraints
o A climax is reached, usually with the death of the main character + other, before order is restored- catharsis- Othello murders Desdemona and commits suicide. Iago kills his wife and is taken into custody

Beginning
• The action of the first scene heightens the audience's anticipation of Othello's first appearance- ambiguously never addressed as Othello

Middle
• Act II
o Like Act I, scene ii, the first scene of Act II begins with emphasis on the limitations of sight.
The emphasis on the limitations of physical sight in a tempest foreshadows what will, after Act III, become Othello's metaphorical blindness, caused by his passion and rage. Similarly, once the physical threat that the Turks pose has been eliminated, the more psychological, less tangible threat posed by inner demons assumes dramatic precedence.
o The prophetic opening alludes to the way in which the 'blast' of Iago's malice will have a devastating effect on Othello.
Shakespeare directly invites the audience to pity Othello when Montano asks 'What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them, / Can hold the mortise?' (lines 8-9).
The dramatic biblical imagery of masses of water pounding the curved frame timbers of Othello's helpless ship acts as an ominous prelude to the lovers' reunion in Cyprus.
The tragic mood appears to dissolve later in Scene 1, once Othello arrives safely, but its presence can be detected even during his poetic expressions of devotion to Desdemona when he ironically states 'If it were now to die / 'Twere now to be most happy' (lines 187-8), announcing how his feeling of 'content ... is too much of joy' (lines 194-5).
Such excessive levels of affection cannot be sustained and a sense of impending doom lurks in the shadows, framing and infecting the entire act.
Iago's frequent asides provide further details of his plans to take revenge on Othello, culminating with his plan to '... draw the Moor apart / And bring him jump when he may Cassio find / Soliciting his wife' (Scene 3, lines 381-2).
However, the most potent indication of tragic love comes directly from Othello in Scene 3 when he describes how his 'passion, having my best judgement collied, / Assays to lead the way' (lines 202-3) while dealing with Cassio's drunken misdemeanours.
This confession of his tendency to allow his emotions to rule his head points to the inner turmoil to come when Iago succeeds in causing Othello to lose his sense of reason to jealousy
o Othello and Desdemona reach the peak of their happiness, very soon through Iago's scheming their 'perfect' love becomes corrupted
The interjection of Iago's aside when he promises to 'set down the pegs that make this music', coupled with some of Othello's own language as he describes his ship climbing hills of seas and ducking again as low 'as hell's from heaven', reinforces the discordant note that can again be seen as an early precursor of the hell that is to come.
o Why does Shakespeare end Act II Scene 1 with Iago's soliloquy?
This concluding soliloquy shows how Iago's plan is evolving.
He acknowledges that Othello is 'of a constant, loving, noble nature'.
This is very different from the assessment Iago gave to Roderigo in Act I when he said 'These Moors are changeable in their wills'.
However, as he is speaking this in soliloquy, we can assume that this is what he really means.
The speech provides some insight into Iago's motive for wishing to cause great harm to Othello and Cassio.
It seems to arise from sexual jealousy.
Notice how the imagery of poison recurs here as Iago describes jealousy 'like a poisonous mineral' eating away his insides.
He wishes to inflict the same torment upon Othello by making him believe that his own wife is unfaithful and thereby destroying the true and loving relationship between Othello and Desdemona.
Dramatically speaking, this soliloquy reveals to the audience Iago's plans for the future and thus alerts them to watch for his scheming and manipulation in the forthcoming scenes.
o The brawl in Act II, scene iii, foreshadows Act V, scene i, where Cassio is stabbed and Roderigo is killed in a commotion outside a brothel
o In the second half of scene 3, Othello's first soliloquy appears (III.ii 262-83). Thus far all of the soliloquies have been spoken by Iago because he has dominated the plot up to this point
Could this be a sign that he is now becoming embroiled in Iago's plotting, whereas previously he has been in control, a man of action, and hasn't needed to reflect much? In other words, is this a sign Iago's plan is working?
• Act IV, Scene 3
o Shakespeare uses the structure of the play to create a foreshadowing of the coming events.
o For example, the detail of the wedding sheets being put on the bed and the mention of Desdemona's death link marriage and death in a way which, as we shall see shortly, is significant in terms of the action of the play.
o The atmosphere of foreboding is increased as Desdemona cannot get out of her mind the willow song of her mother's maid, Barbary - another example of forsaken love.
o The scene contrasts the true and spiritual nature of Desdemona's love (which she shared with Othello at the beginning of the play) with the pragmatic and worldly attitude to love and marriage shown by Emilia, one that mirrors Iago's.
o The scene therefore replicates in miniature the broader ideas regarding love that are being depicted in the play.
o In a wider sense, this juxtaposes the values of Iago/Emilia against the values of Desdemona.
o The audience is shown how far Othello has fallen in the sense that his attitudes now lie on a plane closer to Iago's than to his wife's, thus stating the central conflict of the play just before the climax is about to occur.

End
• We know that by the play's end Othello has transformed from a noble general and loving husband into a jealous, irrational killer.
• We also know that after Othello learns the truth (that he killed the ever-faithful Desdemona for no good reason), he decides to end his own life.
• Here's what our protagonist says just before he stabs himself in the guts: Soft you; a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know't. No more of that. I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees Their medicinal gum. Set you down this; And say besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by the throat the circumcised dog, And smote him, thus. (5.2.66)
o Here, Othello says he "loved" Desdemona "too well" (too much), which suggests that he doesn't really understand the implications of what he's done.
• Othello also seems pretty preoccupied with how people will think of him after his death.
o On the one hand, he wants to be remembered as a soldier who "has done the state some service" and who has killed a lot of Venice's enemies.
o Yet, he also seems to think that strangling Desdemona is a crime against the Venetian state - Othello compares himself to a "turban'd Turk" (Venice's sworn enemy) which he emphasizes when he kills himself with the very same sword he used when he "smote" the "malignant" Turk on the battlefield.
• By this point, Othello sees himself as a savage outsider (like a "Turk" or a "base Indian"), which is what characters like Brabantio have been calling him all along.
o In other words, Othello seems to have internalized the racist ideas that he has encountered in Venice.
o It also seems like Shakespeare is asking us to consider whether or not this is the inevitable outcome when a society tells a man over and over again that he's a "savage."

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Five-Part Tragedy
• Anticipation Stage
o Desdemona and Othello get married and look forward to a happy life together.
o War interrupts their romance, but they assume they'll have time together soon.
• Dream Stage
o Welcome to Cyprus, Island of Love Everything is wonderful with Desdemona and Othello.
o The newlyweds have each other, they're surrounded by trusted friends (or so they think), there's no war...
• Frustration Stage
o Evil Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona is cheating on him. At first, Othello can't believe it, but Iago gradually warps his mind.
o Needless to say, it is rather frustrating for a newly married man to be told his wife is already screwing around.
o This is definitely your teeth-gritting stage.
• Nightmare Stage
o Othello begins to go almost crazy with jealousy.
o His love for Desdemona is changed to disgust.
o He mistreats her, even hitting her in public, and calls her a *****.
o Desdemona can't understand what's happening to the man she loves.
o Teeth-gritting proceeds duly to jaw-dropping, as Iago's machinations increase in complexity and general evilness.
o Othello's suspicions stop being suspicions and become, in his mind, undeniable truths.
o The psychological heart of this stage is when Othello commits to killing Desdemona.
o The physical peak is when he hits her, in public.
• Destruction
o Othello kills Desdemona and plans on Iago killing Cassio; Iago convinces Roderigo to kill Cassio but ends up wounding Cassio himself and killing Roderigo; Othello finds out the truth and kills himself, but not before trying to kill Iago, who also kills Emilia.
o Keep in mind that this is the destruction not only of everyone's life, but also of the dream that we started with way back in the early part of the story.

Theatrical devices- soliloquies
• Soliloquies are used extensively to convey both information and inward emotion to the audience
o Shakespeare uses a soliloquy to end Act II Scene I
Dramatically speaking, this soliloquy reveals to the audience Iago's plans for the future and thus alerts them to watch for his scheming and manipulation in the forthcoming scenes.

Theatrical devices- prose
• Prose is often used by 'low life' characters or to show 'low' or debased subject matters or ways of thinking
Not everyone in the play speaks in blank verse, which we've established is the elegant, high-class way of talking. Characters lower on the social scale don't talk in a special poetic rhythm; they just talk.

Theatrical devices- the length of scenes differ
o For example, Act II, Scene II is a very short scene
One effect is purely practical in that it brings us official knowledge of the destruction of the Turkish fleet, so we know that all is safe on that front.
However, coming immediately after Iago's soliloquy, this brief and apparently unimportant scene has the dramatic effect of heightening our awareness of the threat to Othello and Desdemona.
They are completely unaware of Iago's plans as he prepares to put the first stage into operation.
The proclamation announcing the destruction of the Turks signals, not relief, but that the field is now clear for Iago to do his worst.
o We also find a short scene in Act III, Scene 2
We are able to gain a large amount of information from a seemingly small chunk of the play

Cinematic effect- long and gradual close up to Othello
o Whereas the action of the play began on the streets of Venice and proceeded to the court and then to the beaches of Cyprus, it now moves to the passageways of Othello's residence on the island and ultimately ends in his bedchamber.
o The effect is almost cinematic—like a long and gradual close-up that restricts the visible space around the tragic hero, emphasizing his metaphorical blindness and symbolizing his imprisonment in his own jealous fantasies.
o This ever-tightening focus has led many readers to characterize the play as "claustrophobic."

Clown
o The opening of scene 1, Act III, provides some comic relief for the audience, using the stock character of the 'clown' (often used to mean a peasant, countryman or foolish character, as well as a 'licensed' fool or jester).
o Shakespeare knows that it is difficult for an audience to sustain high emotion for a long period of time. The previous act ended with anger, conflict, recrimination and plotting: the bawdy humour, scatology and puns in this section (consider what meanings might be given to words such as 'tail' and 'wind') offer the audience some respite before we are plunged into the emotionally charged scenes to follow.
o This is quite a common technique used by Shakespeare in his tragedies (the 'drunken porter' scene in Macbeth or the gravediggers' banter in Hamlet are other famous examples).

• Hemistichomythia
o Shakespeare is uses a device called hemistichomythia in Act III scene iii, where characters alternate half-lines; this increases the pace and helps to convey Desdemona's insistence and Othello's resistance to it.

Short, hesitant lines
o In Act III, scene III, Shakespeare draws attention to Othello's short, hesitant replies with the phrase 'stand so mamm'ring on' (line 70).
o This may be a clue as to how an actor might represent Othello during this part of the scene, and even a foreshadowing of the verbal degeneration we see occurring throughout Acts III and IV.

Animal Imagery
o In act 3, during Othello's soliloquy- An audience's sense of foreboding regarding the progress of the play would hardly be assuaged by this speech. Animal imagery is evoked: up until now, such imagery has been characteristic of Iago rather than Othello and his adoption of this language indicates how much he has been affected by Iago's manipulations.

Interruption of sleep
o III.iii. Othello's re-entrance to line 434
We sense an escalation in the intensity of Iago's machinations: his comment at the end of his soliloquy, upon seeing Othello enter, makes it clear that he is revelling in the idea that Othello shall never have the ease of mind which he had possessed previously.
The interruption of sleep is used a number of times in Shakespeare to suggest a disturbance in a character's state of mind - see Macbeth and King Lear for famous examples.


Hope this helps!
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nethmi12345
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#3
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#3
(Original post by thatbooknerd)
Here's my list:

The play taking place at night
• Most of the action of the play takes place at night
• Under cover of darkness people reveal the unacceptable facets of their character to the audience, however, these remain unperceived by the characters to the plays, as is the case with Iago + Roderigo.
• The play begins + ends at night, suggesting that battle between good and evil is contestably won by the forces of darkness
• Desdemona is associated with fairness, love + truth and is doomed, by the plays insistence on black, to be as extinguishable as a tiny star in a dark firmament of male machination and exploitation
• The atmosphere of war casts a dark shadow
• Chaos is represented by the coming of night + putting out of the light

Time
• Time runs too fast from the beginning of the play, interrupting hours of love with the urgency of war + not allowing anything to be completed
• The pace of the play isolates the characters + deprives them of the opp for communication
• When the play stats, an event has occurred which is already too late to reverse- and which may have impetuous- and it seems as though the marriage has created a swift chain of cause + effect which pulls in everyone else
• The audience is swept along by the chronological logic of the events but the pace makes us feel uncomfortable

Iago's solilquies
• Iago's soliloquies contribute to the feeling of speed by their content, structure + positioninh
• He can cover a lot in a few lines, seeming to not only be reacting to the quick succession of events but also creating them
• HE is able to give the impression that time and speed are on his side
• This lends him an aura of supernatural power, loading the dice against Othello and Desdemona
• Because the soliloquies comment on an action just completed and also immediately set up the next one, they seem to be the link and driving force of the plot, which is unfolding itself at breakneck speed
• They are a stream of consciousness, putting thought into words + words into deeds with no respite or pause for consideration

Lack of scene breaks
• Othello changes from a doting husband (But do I love thee! III.3.91) to a lamenting one ('Why did I marry? III.3.240) without a scene break
• That jealousy can strike and claim a victim in 150 lines demonstrates the overwhelming power of an emotion against which humans are helpless and reason is important
• Furthermore, its proof of Iago's power that he can cause a newly married man in love want to murder his wife in such a short time
• The absence of a scene break means the pressure can be applied to Othello relentlessly, and dramatic tension is kept up for the audience.
• It simultaneously makes the speed of his change shockingly fast but also more credible, because he has no time for reflection

General pattern notes
• Follow the pattern: exposition/dramatic/incitement/complication/crisis/revolution
o At the beginning of the play something occurs that disrupts the normal order of things- Othello marries Desdemona
o Chaos or disorder in society results- The peace of Venice is broken by Brabantio's men + deeper discord is created in Iago's plot
o Extreme emotions are involved- jealousy + suspicion
o Social restraint disintegrates- Othello discards normal restraints
o A climax is reached, usually with the death of the main character + other, before order is restored- catharsis- Othello murders Desdemona and commits suicide. Iago kills his wife and is taken into custody

Beginning
• The action of the first scene heightens the audience's anticipation of Othello's first appearance- ambiguously never addressed as Othello

Middle
• Act II
o Like Act I, scene ii, the first scene of Act II begins with emphasis on the limitations of sight.
The emphasis on the limitations of physical sight in a tempest foreshadows what will, after Act III, become Othello's metaphorical blindness, caused by his passion and rage. Similarly, once the physical threat that the Turks pose has been eliminated, the more psychological, less tangible threat posed by inner demons assumes dramatic precedence.
o The prophetic opening alludes to the way in which the 'blast' of Iago's malice will have a devastating effect on Othello.
Shakespeare directly invites the audience to pity Othello when Montano asks 'What ribs of oak, when mountains melt on them, / Can hold the mortise?' (lines 8-9).
The dramatic biblical imagery of masses of water pounding the curved frame timbers of Othello's helpless ship acts as an ominous prelude to the lovers' reunion in Cyprus.
The tragic mood appears to dissolve later in Scene 1, once Othello arrives safely, but its presence can be detected even during his poetic expressions of devotion to Desdemona when he ironically states 'If it were now to die / 'Twere now to be most happy' (lines 187-8), announcing how his feeling of 'content ... is too much of joy' (lines 194-5).
Such excessive levels of affection cannot be sustained and a sense of impending doom lurks in the shadows, framing and infecting the entire act.
Iago's frequent asides provide further details of his plans to take revenge on Othello, culminating with his plan to '... draw the Moor apart / And bring him jump when he may Cassio find / Soliciting his wife' (Scene 3, lines 381-2).
However, the most potent indication of tragic love comes directly from Othello in Scene 3 when he describes how his 'passion, having my best judgement collied, / Assays to lead the way' (lines 202-3) while dealing with Cassio's drunken misdemeanours.
This confession of his tendency to allow his emotions to rule his head points to the inner turmoil to come when Iago succeeds in causing Othello to lose his sense of reason to jealousy
o Othello and Desdemona reach the peak of their happiness, very soon through Iago's scheming their 'perfect' love becomes corrupted
The interjection of Iago's aside when he promises to 'set down the pegs that make this music', coupled with some of Othello's own language as he describes his ship climbing hills of seas and ducking again as low 'as hell's from heaven', reinforces the discordant note that can again be seen as an early precursor of the hell that is to come.
o Why does Shakespeare end Act II Scene 1 with Iago's soliloquy?
This concluding soliloquy shows how Iago's plan is evolving.
He acknowledges that Othello is 'of a constant, loving, noble nature'.
This is very different from the assessment Iago gave to Roderigo in Act I when he said 'These Moors are changeable in their wills'.
However, as he is speaking this in soliloquy, we can assume that this is what he really means.
The speech provides some insight into Iago's motive for wishing to cause great harm to Othello and Cassio.
It seems to arise from sexual jealousy.
Notice how the imagery of poison recurs here as Iago describes jealousy 'like a poisonous mineral' eating away his insides.
He wishes to inflict the same torment upon Othello by making him believe that his own wife is unfaithful and thereby destroying the true and loving relationship between Othello and Desdemona.
Dramatically speaking, this soliloquy reveals to the audience Iago's plans for the future and thus alerts them to watch for his scheming and manipulation in the forthcoming scenes.
o The brawl in Act II, scene iii, foreshadows Act V, scene i, where Cassio is stabbed and Roderigo is killed in a commotion outside a brothel
o In the second half of scene 3, Othello's first soliloquy appears (III.ii 262-83). Thus far all of the soliloquies have been spoken by Iago because he has dominated the plot up to this point
Could this be a sign that he is now becoming embroiled in Iago's plotting, whereas previously he has been in control, a man of action, and hasn't needed to reflect much? In other words, is this a sign Iago's plan is working?
• Act IV, Scene 3
o Shakespeare uses the structure of the play to create a foreshadowing of the coming events.
o For example, the detail of the wedding sheets being put on the bed and the mention of Desdemona's death link marriage and death in a way which, as we shall see shortly, is significant in terms of the action of the play.
o The atmosphere of foreboding is increased as Desdemona cannot get out of her mind the willow song of her mother's maid, Barbary - another example of forsaken love.
o The scene contrasts the true and spiritual nature of Desdemona's love (which she shared with Othello at the beginning of the play) with the pragmatic and worldly attitude to love and marriage shown by Emilia, one that mirrors Iago's.
o The scene therefore replicates in miniature the broader ideas regarding love that are being depicted in the play.
o In a wider sense, this juxtaposes the values of Iago/Emilia against the values of Desdemona.
o The audience is shown how far Othello has fallen in the sense that his attitudes now lie on a plane closer to Iago's than to his wife's, thus stating the central conflict of the play just before the climax is about to occur.

End
• We know that by the play's end Othello has transformed from a noble general and loving husband into a jealous, irrational killer.
• We also know that after Othello learns the truth (that he killed the ever-faithful Desdemona for no good reason), he decides to end his own life.
• Here's what our protagonist says just before he stabs himself in the guts: Soft you; a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know't. No more of that. I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees Their medicinal gum. Set you down this; And say besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk Beat a Venetian and traduced the state, I took by the throat the circumcised dog, And smote him, thus. (5.2.66)
o Here, Othello says he "loved" Desdemona "too well" (too much), which suggests that he doesn't really understand the implications of what he's done.
• Othello also seems pretty preoccupied with how people will think of him after his death.
o On the one hand, he wants to be remembered as a soldier who "has done the state some service" and who has killed a lot of Venice's enemies.
o Yet, he also seems to think that strangling Desdemona is a crime against the Venetian state - Othello compares himself to a "turban'd Turk" (Venice's sworn enemy) which he emphasizes when he kills himself with the very same sword he used when he "smote" the "malignant" Turk on the battlefield.
• By this point, Othello sees himself as a savage outsider (like a "Turk" or a "base Indian"), which is what characters like Brabantio have been calling him all along.
o In other words, Othello seems to have internalized the racist ideas that he has encountered in Venice.
o It also seems like Shakespeare is asking us to consider whether or not this is the inevitable outcome when a society tells a man over and over again that he's a "savage."

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Five-Part Tragedy
• Anticipation Stage
o Desdemona and Othello get married and look forward to a happy life together.
o War interrupts their romance, but they assume they'll have time together soon.
• Dream Stage
o Welcome to Cyprus, Island of Love Everything is wonderful with Desdemona and Othello.
o The newlyweds have each other, they're surrounded by trusted friends (or so they think), there's no war...
• Frustration Stage
o Evil Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona is cheating on him. At first, Othello can't believe it, but Iago gradually warps his mind.
o Needless to say, it is rather frustrating for a newly married man to be told his wife is already screwing around.
o This is definitely your teeth-gritting stage.
• Nightmare Stage
o Othello begins to go almost crazy with jealousy.
o His love for Desdemona is changed to disgust.
o He mistreats her, even hitting her in public, and calls her a *****.
o Desdemona can't understand what's happening to the man she loves.
o Teeth-gritting proceeds duly to jaw-dropping, as Iago's machinations increase in complexity and general evilness.
o Othello's suspicions stop being suspicions and become, in his mind, undeniable truths.
o The psychological heart of this stage is when Othello commits to killing Desdemona.
o The physical peak is when he hits her, in public.
• Destruction
o Othello kills Desdemona and plans on Iago killing Cassio; Iago convinces Roderigo to kill Cassio but ends up wounding Cassio himself and killing Roderigo; Othello finds out the truth and kills himself, but not before trying to kill Iago, who also kills Emilia.
o Keep in mind that this is the destruction not only of everyone's life, but also of the dream that we started with way back in the early part of the story.

Theatrical devices- soliloquies
• Soliloquies are used extensively to convey both information and inward emotion to the audience
o Shakespeare uses a soliloquy to end Act II Scene I
Dramatically speaking, this soliloquy reveals to the audience Iago's plans for the future and thus alerts them to watch for his scheming and manipulation in the forthcoming scenes.

Theatrical devices- prose
• Prose is often used by 'low life' characters or to show 'low' or debased subject matters or ways of thinking
Not everyone in the play speaks in blank verse, which we've established is the elegant, high-class way of talking. Characters lower on the social scale don't talk in a special poetic rhythm; they just talk.

Theatrical devices- the length of scenes differ
o For example, Act II, Scene II is a very short scene
One effect is purely practical in that it brings us official knowledge of the destruction of the Turkish fleet, so we know that all is safe on that front.
However, coming immediately after Iago's soliloquy, this brief and apparently unimportant scene has the dramatic effect of heightening our awareness of the threat to Othello and Desdemona.
They are completely unaware of Iago's plans as he prepares to put the first stage into operation.
The proclamation announcing the destruction of the Turks signals, not relief, but that the field is now clear for Iago to do his worst.
o We also find a short scene in Act III, Scene 2
We are able to gain a large amount of information from a seemingly small chunk of the play

Cinematic effect- long and gradual close up to Othello
o Whereas the action of the play began on the streets of Venice and proceeded to the court and then to the beaches of Cyprus, it now moves to the passageways of Othello's residence on the island and ultimately ends in his bedchamber.
o The effect is almost cinematic—like a long and gradual close-up that restricts the visible space around the tragic hero, emphasizing his metaphorical blindness and symbolizing his imprisonment in his own jealous fantasies.
o This ever-tightening focus has led many readers to characterize the play as "claustrophobic."

Clown
o The opening of scene 1, Act III, provides some comic relief for the audience, using the stock character of the 'clown' (often used to mean a peasant, countryman or foolish character, as well as a 'licensed' fool or jester).
o Shakespeare knows that it is difficult for an audience to sustain high emotion for a long period of time. The previous act ended with anger, conflict, recrimination and plotting: the bawdy humour, scatology and puns in this section (consider what meanings might be given to words such as 'tail' and 'wind') offer the audience some respite before we are plunged into the emotionally charged scenes to follow.
o This is quite a common technique used by Shakespeare in his tragedies (the 'drunken porter' scene in Macbeth or the gravediggers' banter in Hamlet are other famous examples).

• Hemistichomythia
o Shakespeare is uses a device called hemistichomythia in Act III scene iii, where characters alternate half-lines; this increases the pace and helps to convey Desdemona's insistence and Othello's resistance to it.

Short, hesitant lines
o In Act III, scene III, Shakespeare draws attention to Othello's short, hesitant replies with the phrase 'stand so mamm'ring on' (line 70).
o This may be a clue as to how an actor might represent Othello during this part of the scene, and even a foreshadowing of the verbal degeneration we see occurring throughout Acts III and IV.

Animal Imagery
o In act 3, during Othello's soliloquy- An audience's sense of foreboding regarding the progress of the play would hardly be assuaged by this speech. Animal imagery is evoked: up until now, such imagery has been characteristic of Iago rather than Othello and his adoption of this language indicates how much he has been affected by Iago's manipulations.

Interruption of sleep
o III.iii. Othello's re-entrance to line 434
We sense an escalation in the intensity of Iago's machinations: his comment at the end of his soliloquy, upon seeing Othello enter, makes it clear that he is revelling in the idea that Othello shall never have the ease of mind which he had possessed previously.
The interruption of sleep is used a number of times in Shakespeare to suggest a disturbance in a character's state of mind - see Macbeth and King Lear for famous examples.


Hope this helps!
This was so unbelievably helpful, thank you so much for your time!
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thatbooknerd
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That's okay! Hope it made sense, the format was a little weird when I copied it in. Good luck for revising
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nethmi12345
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(Original post by thatbooknerd)
That's okay! Hope it made sense, the format was a little weird when I copied it in. Good luck for revising
It's great! Thanks again
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