Othello


Task 2





1. In the opening scene of the play, the audience gets their first impression of Othello in third person. Three characters have been given the role of projecting Othello’s character to the audience, these are: Brabantio, Roderigo and Iago. These characters play the important role to contrast Othello’s moral fibre.


In comparison to Iago and Roderigo, Brabantio says the least against Othello. Brabantio claims that ‘this accident (Othello’s marriage with his daughter) is not unlike my dream’. This proves that Brabantio perceives the marriage as unnatural, and an accidental; it would not have occurred under any normal circumstances. The audience absorbs this view of him and take Brabantio’s reaction to judge Othello. Furthermore, Iago and Roderigo use vile language to describe Othello, which Brabantio does not negate. This opens towards the notion for the audience to think that Brabantio accepts these descriptions as they are common. In addition, as the audience does not yet know of Othello’s complexion, Brabantio’s acceptance that he was ‘robbed… (by) an old black ram… (of his) white ewe,’ aids to convey the idea that Othello is a dishonest kidnapper. At no point in the first scene does Brabantio consider the possibility that the situation was escalated. Brabantio was given a summary of Desdemona and Othello’s circumstance and instantly assumed that Othello had stolen his daughter.


Roderigo would appear to have an even smaller role than Brabantio in the transmission of Othello’s first impression as he is only voicing Iago’s thoughts. This occurs while the audience would perceive Roderigo as a just and innocent man in the process of aiding others in his community. Many in the audience would now deduce that Othello is a desperado, while Roderigo is the hero in this play. This adds to the belief that Othello is a villain and has a horrible reputation in Venice. The suggestion that Othello is a deplorable man would, however, not be this extreme if Iago was not present.


Iago presents himself to the audience with a short temper and despicable language. Iago describes Othello as ‘an old black ram… devil… a barbary horse… (a) beast.’ This imagery implies that Othello is barbaric or basically a DOG, only worse. A dog is ‘man’s best friend;’ Othello is not. The audience would see Othello as lesser than a dog and also think that even his actions reflect the animalistic nature because of the ‘tupping’ and ‘black’ deeds he performs. Clearly, the audience’s impression of Othello is escalated from cruel to dreadful, evil, kidnapper through Iago’s input.


2. In act 1, scenes ii and iii, Othello appears a truly honourable and modest man. Othello expresses these qualities by voicing ‘when… boasting is an honour, I (Othello) shall provulgate.’ Othello understands that having the gorgeous Desdemona as his wife is something most men would boast about, but as modesty is a quality, abundant in Othello’s life, he does not, but instead keeps this information to himself. Iago advised Othello that they ‘best go in’ suggesting that Othello should hide from Brabantio, however, Othello shows his courage which leads him to reply ‘not I; I must be found.’


The audience would now be at a point of indecisiveness, where they are forced to accept the scene i characterisation of Othello or the portrayal that the audience directly sees from Othello, himself. When the conversation with Cassio is observed, the obvious tone of respect in Cassio’s speech is echoed, which announces to the audience that Othello is all these good qualities, and none of the bad.


Othello is yet again placed under a test of nobility in scene ii as Brabantio now arrives with the armed guard. Othello decides to not battle the guard, however, he simply states (which Othello fails to consider at the end) that ‘you shall more command with years than your weapons.’ This statement avoids bloodshed yet displays Othello’s full wisdom and his thoughtfulness.


The audience now sees the true nature of Othello, thus recognising the true thugs of the play. The viewers also learn that perhaps Othello’s excellent lifestyle is the cause of Roderigo and Iago’s attempt to destroy him. The spectators now clearly see the villains and accept Othello as their true hero. (not Roderigo!)