Act one of Othello

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What Is Shakespeare's Achievement In Act I Of Othello? Shakespeare's own personal aim was not to write a social and political reflection of his era, as many contemporary readers believe, it was; purely and simply, to entertain his audience. This does not mean that there can be no social and political reflections within Othello, it means that the reflections are there, not for the sake of social and political commentary, but for the sake of entertainment and pleasure. Aristotle explained in "Poetics" that the audience's pleasure consists not merely in observing the play, but criticizing, evaluating and making comparisons. These activities produce pleasure, thus it is not a mindless pleasure. There must be intellectual and emotional engagement on the spectator's part. According to Aristotle, to stimulate the intellectual engagement of the audience and thus create this pleasure in the spectator, a masterful piece of art or literature must contain a degree of ambiguity in its ideas.

This is the reason for the social commentaries that Shakespeare includes in his work: The play commences with two characters apparently arguing over money. Shakespeare immediately sets the mood of conflict for the remainder of the play, it is important because the reader at the outset is given a choice; who to believe and who is right. Shakespeare instantly sets about creating the mood of ambiguity which will result in the reader contemplating and analyzing the situation in hand. This will, according to Aristotle, create pleasure for the audience.

As with all Shakespeare's plays, Othello is written (for the very vast majority) in a form of verse and with a definite rhythm. This helps the general flow of the text, and when the rhythm is broken, we are alerted to a significant event or to a particular trait in a character. When Iago tries...