Essay on Compairing Hamlet and Othello

Submitted By Alexandra-ODonovan
Words: 2846
Pages: 12


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Title: Compare and contrast Othello Act 1 Scene 2 – Act 1 Scene 3 line 121 with Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3 – Act 1 scene 5 line 113.

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The tragedies of Othello and Hamlet Prince of Denmark are marked as such due to the progression of each play highlighting and exploiting a tragic flaw in each of these leading characters that causes the eventual demise of both themselves and of those characters tragically associated with them. In Othello Act 1 Scene 2 – Act 1 Scene 3 line 1211 and in Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3 – Act 1 scene 5 line 1132, we see the foreshadowing of forthcoming tragedy in these early stages of each play due to premonitions Shakespeare alludes to in the dramatic context of his language; dramatic context relating to the social, religious, economic and political constructs of the Elizabethan era in which each play was written. When placing each tragic hero into his dramatic context, the introduction of personae flaws that lead to their inevitable downfall are made more apparent. Each extract also places focus upon the arising of the theme of character loyalty, or the lack of it, to both kin and state and how this, combined with the further theme of misrepresentations of reality, the statement of how things appear as opposed to as they actually are, create tensions that begin to show character intent and thereby lead to the development of plot.

Othello, the lead protagonist of the play is initially depicted in the selected extract as a valiant military General, well regarded and a character who displays loyalty to the Venetian society in which the play is set. Being a man of African origin and thereby having black skin, it would have been considered unusual for Othello to be so well regarded; people of colour in Elizabethan England, though sometimes existing as free men, were usually associated with having menial jobs and generally being of a lower class in a predominantly