Othello, the Moor of Venice, by William Shakespeare: Long Essay

Essay by jimbojanglesHigh School, 12th gradeB+, June 2009

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Question: Drama often examines the way individuals struggle to dominate and/or manipulate each other. Discuss the techniques and themes used in Othello, which draw our attention to the power shifts between the characters.

Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare and believed to have been written circa 1603. The play is centrally focused on four characters; the protagonist Othello, a high ranking Venetian general; his beautiful wife Desdemona; his lieutenant Cassio and the antagonist, Othello's personal ensign Iago. Throughout the development; Othello, our attention is drawn to the various characters as they strive to dominate over one another and thus manipulation begins to shape not only the audiences response, but the entire outcome of the play. Shakespeare directs our attention towards these power shifts through the use of techniques and themes such as dialogue, gender, race and military rank. Shakespeare explores the idea that power is an effect on social structure, and not an absolute force imposed from above, nobody is completely powerful or powerless.

The most dominant example of power shifts revolve around the two main characters Othello and Iago; not only do both of them experience complete power shifts, but they both consequently pay the price as a result of them.

The character if Iago at first glance would be that of pure evil; in fact, Iago is the most controversial and exotic character in the entire play. Through carefully thought out words, Iago is able to manipulate the other characters is a way that benefits him and moves him closer to achieving his sinister goals. He is also the main driving force in the tragedy; pushing Othello and the other characters towards their tragic end. Iago is not an ordinary villain, in reality, the role he plays is unique and more...