Speaking and Listening: Othello Evaluation Act 1 Scene 3, lines 238 – 270 Essay

Act 1 scene 3 was the set scene I was given, within this set scene I was given an extract lines 238 – 270. Using the extract from the set scene I had to; annotate the extract through analysing it, translating it into modern English as well as inserting stage directions and lastly we had to present it. There were two main aspects of Othello that could be brought out to vent out his feelings, there was his angry, annoyed side or calm and romantic side.

The aspect that I brought out was his angry, annoyed side because this would not only show that he is seriously committed to his relationship with Desdemona, but also that he will not let anyone or anything harm Desdemona and so is furious about the comments being made not only of him but also of his wife. Emphasising Othello’s speech through stage directions would give the audience an insight to how he feels and his reactions.

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The lines I emphasised were; line 253, this was the first line of his speech “let her have your voices” here I made Othello look angry through his facial expression by writing that he should bring down his eyebrows and look really annoyed, he would also have to raise his voice a little but not too much. The reason I made him angry and frustrated was because Desdemona, his wife, had to plead for her voice to be heard; when she was speaking she was just being ignored.

Othello would be angry as she is his loved one and so he would feel upset because she is upset, this would show that he is caring and thoughtful even though he decides to show anger, hate and look fierce. I also emphasised the term “wife” when he talks, I made him change the tone of his voice to make the term possessive, this would remind Brabantio, the Duke and others around them about his marriage commitment, whether they approved or not he was legally married to her, and so Desdemona and Othello were entitled to each other and to be together.

When Othello confidently says “I’m not asking to have her near me for sex! ” he looks ashamed that he has to say that and also angry that people around him, including his fellow soldiers would think that he married her just for sex. It would seem strange that nobody exclaimed that he did marry her just for sexual desires, but he feels as though he is being questioned about that aspect of his relationship and so feels an urge to tell everyone that he loves her for her mind and not just for sex.

The modern setting I have decided on is a war room, where a meeting about war with Iraq is being discussed until Othello and Desdemona are summoned. The reason for this particular setting is that it modernises the actual setting of the scene, where a meeting was being held about war with the Turks. Even though the setting has not got much to do with my extract it goes with the beginning of the scene which was the discussing of war. The modern setting brings out the theme of honour; the scene introduces an idea which is important throughout the play. Othello’s balancing of public duty and private concerns.

It is obvious that his wife may distract him from his work, but Othello is confident in assuring the Senator that this will not happen, his honour is tested. Othello is in a war room where most of his honour is reflected as a soldier, he is one of the very few black people who got a chance of showing what they are really like, and he could be risking an opportunity by getting married. Othello and Desdemona’s relationship in the war room is unstable, as Othello knows that as soon as Othello loses his usefulness in the army that he will be thrown to one side by the country that Othello has fought for.

He will be labelled as an Iraqi, which was whom they were at war with. If he is not honorary to his values of being a soldier and get thrown over he will not be accepted by either side. There is a theme of people being dependant on reputation throughout the play. This puts across how it is felt that society was and how it should be. Views on society and how people behave are quite apparent during this play. This scene sets up the rest of the play well. It shows the audience who the good and evil characters are.

It also sets up certain themes, such as Brabantio’s warning to Othello about Desdemona betraying him. It is also the first time in the play in which the main themes are apparent, how reputation is the most important factor of life for some people, how manipulative people can be without anyone noticing, and also about how people judge each other based on their status, and that political stance is everything. These are all the main themes of the play which need to get across to the audience.

The atmosphere and mood involves a lot of tension between Brabantio and others as Othello is cleverly manipulating everyone into feeling pity for him when he speaks of his days as a slave. Othello shows himself as how they want to see him and not how he really is. The Duke’s acceptance of the speech means that the rest of the room has to also accept it, along with the audience. The impact I hoped the scene to have on a modern audience is that of Othello being treated unfairly, this could be seen as racism. Othello, even though he is married to Desdemona he is not being entitled to love her because of his father.

Her father thinks really dirty and cheap of Othello, whereas he usually loathed the fact of having Othello with him as part of the army. This showed that Othello was being used for his strength and that was the only reason Brabantio wanted him. The play of Othello is still relevant to us today, as both the 21st century and the 17th century in which the play was written both reverberate the issues of racial discrimination, sexism, domestic violence and betrayal. These are all relevant to the modern day audience as this is still happening and is regularly in the media.

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