Othello Critical Analysis

1291 words - 6 pages

'Othello'

William Shakespeare's 'Othello' demonstrates that an interpretation of 'Othello' can be affected by studies of critical theories. Critical theories in the play mainly explore gender differences and racial tensions, through particular themes and language techniques. Othello's, different ethnic background provides a stable platform for probing ideas of racial conflict and the construction of well-developed yet opposing female characters adds to the feminists views of conflict within genders. These seemingly separate themes add greatly to to prejudgement and construction of stereotypes within 'Othello', significantly affecting the ways in which the tragedy can be interpreted.

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It is lated stated by the first senator that othello must "use desdemona well" encouraging the Elizabethan society. The word "use" refers to the women having to bow to the wills of their husbands who utilize them as they wish. Act II scene 2 sees Othello devote his love to desdemona, the tone within Othello's voice is momentarily defined as subtly demanding, speaking of his possessions as if to brag, "Come my dear love/the purchase made.." - thus implying that marriage is an act of purchase, supporting expectations that women are to fulfill a mans sexual desires, in return being allocated with the privilege of calling herself his wife. Emilia, Iago's wife, declares her independence from her husband, professing her opinion that if the wife may fall, it be the husbands fault, "but i do think it is their husbands' faults...if wives do fall...yet we have some revenge. Let husbands know... then let them use us well; else let them know, the ills we do, their ills instruct us so". This focus on the tone of Emilias voice implies she believes women should be more then just a purchase and should be well treated and respect, providing the feminist voice of the play. Emilia honest and distinctly unsophisticated views on men and women are expressed in a indirect formal verse. Desdemona, however, has appropriate styles for speaking to the duke, she speaks calmly and respectively, to Othello, lovingly and passionately and to Iago she acts friendly and honestly, suggesting not only a inconsistency on her behalf but a proper sense of comparability and harmony.
Characterization of the males heroic characters, complements the limited female dialogue within the 'Othello' conveying the suppression of women within society, showing how little their opinions are voiced and which is later made visual as, Iago's motives towards plotting his plan, include no consideration towards his wife, Emilia's feelings or Desdemona's, however they are merely objects, that will further fulfill his desires and motives.

As well as characterization, dominant rhythm of iambic pentameter and repetition together achieve a remarkable degree of flexibility by breaking up the line and extensive vocabulary within Act III scene 4, lines 83-96. It looks at a conversation between Desdemona and Othello, where Othello's language becomes aggressive, occupying traits of the nature of 'bullying'. Othello pursues his unreasonable obsession with the handkerchief whilst desdemona unmeaningly inflames her husbands temper and jealousy, marking a disturbing progress towards Othello's near insanity. Shakespeare's use of repetition of "the handkerchief' creates great effect in the final scene. Juxtaposition is used to contrast between love and fear, "to fall in love with what she feared on", through the alliteration also used in the same quote, suggests fear is a characteristic associated with weakness and feminity. The reason to why Desdemona is in a relationship with Othello is due to this...

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