To what extent has your personal response to the play been shaped by the…
To what extent has your personal response to the play been shaped by the power of Shakespeare's characterisation?
Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello uses characters to reflect the hypocritical values of Venetian society and reveal the human desire for social acceptance, image and power.
Othello is an outsider character who gains the reputable status as general while Iago, an extreme embodiment of Venetian values, feels the need to destroy Othello’s controversial reputation in order to maintain his superior position in society. The pride and jealousy regarding the character’s reactions social power also reveals the vulnerability of humanity when one is considered inferior.
What are the hypocritical values
Othello can be a general but can't marry Desdemona
"black ram is tupping your white ewe"
"Your son in law is far more fair than black"
Underlying racist comment
Pun, double meaning
"My services which I have done the signiory shall out tongue his complains" Page 15
He is accepted as a general
Value humility yet everyone is obsessed with social status and reputation
"Are we turned Turks, and to ourselves do that which heaven hath formid the Ottomites? Page 77
Othello criticises their reputation. This shows that it is valued.
Hypocritical values are shown through the character's actions and reactions
Most evident at the beginning of the play where first impressions are made
The human desire for social acceptance and power
Is an outsider
Wants social acceptance
Gains acceptance form his battle achievements
Deteriorates when his reputation is at risk because he values status so much
Becomes jealous because Cassio might be better than him
"For she had eyes and chose me. No, Iago, I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove; and on the proof, there is no more but this: away at once with love or jealousy"
Reflects perspective, accptance
Arrogant with "chose me".
Repetition of the words doubt and prove
Shows that Othello's moral compass is deteriorating as his desire for social superiority overrides his loyalty for Desdemona
Syntax, short phrases show that he is angry
Like to the Pontic sea, whose icy current and compulsive course, ne’er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on to the Propontic and the Hellespont. Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace, shall ne’er look back, ne’er ebb to humble love. [Kneels]
Not only values his reputation but also Desdeoma's
He kills Desdemona to protect her status
Keep her pure
The setting of the bed chamber
Sheets around Desdemona portrays her death as a sacrifice, rather than cold murder
Sheets represent the handkerchief with represents love which means the Othello still loves her when he kills Desdemona.
Othello doesn't truely love Desdemona for he treats her as a possession
She is used to show off his status
ONly describes her outer beauty
Is not an outsider but still values social status because he is an embodiment of Venetian values
His identity is based on Venetian values and becomes angry that Othello has gained acceptance
wants to jeopardise Othello's social status
Targets othello's race
Iago has mixed emotions about reputation
What he tells Othello vs what he tells Cassio
Iago has reputation but not honour.
Othello doesn't know the difference
I am not what I am
He wants power but not necessarily social acceptance
He just wants power. His jealousy is based on other's social achievements
Leads different characters to commit different crimes
Reveal the futility of humanity as people become over ridden with passion and jealousy
Othello becomes murderous because of his jealousy
Iago wants to remain in power