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The Importance of Act 1 in Othello

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What is the significance of act 1 in Othello.
Act 1 of ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare is of extreme importance to the development of the play and the audiences understanding of it as a whole. Othello is introduced to the audience as calm, confident and eloquent individual who has deeply in love with Desdemona even in the face of adversity in their relationship. However, as the play progresses Othello is manipulated and warped by his ensign Iago. His mind begins to fracture until he commits an atrocity so foul; he believes death is the punishment he deserves.
One of the most important points portrayed in act 1 is Othello’s personality and thought process before he is manipulated by Iago in later scenes. “From men of royal siege; and my demerits…may speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune…as this that I have reached”. Othello is portrayed here as calm and rational here despite the fact that Iago is attempting to rile him by giving false information about Roderigo. Furthermore, Othello emphasises his self-confidence by stating that his past glories will speak louder than Brabantio’s gripes about his daughter’s relationship with him. Othello emphasises this point again by speaking in verse “Were it my cue to fight I should have known it without a prompter.” This emphasises his supreme confidence and rational thinking as he states that he has done nothing wrong and has no reason to feel guilty about his marriage to Desdemona. Moreover, although Brabantio orders his guard to arrest Othello, he remains calm and respectful as he knows that his love for Desdemona is true and above the disapproval of her father. This contrasts with later in the play once Iago has poured his poison into Othello’s mind and he is completely overcome with jealousy “Yes, t’is Emilia…My wife? What wife? I have no wife.” This disjointed sentence emphasises just how much Othello’s character has…...

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