Question 3 - Describe a significant change in the text - Explain how that change affected a character
Shakespearian tragedies highlight the flaws in human nature. The human nature of change is perfectly encapsulated in William Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ where the Main Character undergoes a significant change in the text. This can be seen at the beginning of the play where Othello is a prideful general and a loving husband. As we progress throughout the play, we can see the significant change for Othello in the text, which is Cassio and Roderigo’s fight, where Othello starts to make impulsive decisions based on emotion as opposed to reason. Finally, we can see the overall change in Othello at the end of the play.
At the beginning of the play, we can see how the significant change affects Othello, as at the start, Othello is a loving husband and prideful general. This can be highlighted when Brabantio is going after Othello for marrying his daughter, and Othello states: “Keep your swords high, for the dew shall rust them”. Shakespeare’s use of an imperative highlights how Othello has a lot of pride. Othello’s use of an imperative also highlights how he is a respected leader who can easily command an army of people. Similarly, Othello states “My services shall out tongue his complaints”. This shows how Othello is a confident man - he believes that he cannot be arrested. This links to Shakespeare’s purpose of making Othello seem like a strong, incorruptible character. He then diverts the reader’s expectations by showing how that wasn’t the case as Othello gets corrupted.
This point is furthermore seen at the turning point in the play when Othello begins to rule on emotion as opposed to common sense. This can be seen when Cassio and Roderigo get into a fight and Othello states: “My blood begins my safer guide to rule”. Shakespeare’s use of a metaphor highlights how Othello starts to rule on emotion, by comparing his blood to emotion. This shows his downward spiral from valiant general to a man who acts on emotions. This is important because it sets up the coming events in the play. This links to Shakespeare’s purpose of showing how Othello was not corruptible by diverting expectations. This also links to the idea of anger. Anger is a prominent theme throughout the play, and this scene encapsulates how anger is represented in the play.
This point is finally seen when Othello is talking about Desdemona in regard to her ‘affair’ and he states “I’ll tear her to pieces!” The use of Diction with the word ‘pieces’ highlights how Othello is enraged at Desdemona and how deep down Othello is a violent and aggressive person. Othello changed because of a significant change in the play, which was the fight between Cassio and Roderigo. If Othello had a clear head, he might not have been manipulated by Iago. This links to Shakespeare’s purpose of highlighting human nature. He does this through the Character Othello. At the beginning of the play, Othello is a kind man. But when his trust is broken, his true nature is revealed and he is a hating man.
Othello started out as a prideful general and loving husband, but through significant changes, such as the fight between Cassio and Roderigo, he turns into a jealous monster. This proves how Human Nature is perfectly encapsulated in ‘Othello’.