Wirt-Emerson Visual Performing Arts & High Ability Academy
Teacher N. M. Ms. Nicole Palmer
Monday, March 9, 2015
Death of it All
Death doesn’t always mean that someone’s life is gone. Sometimes, death could mean the end of a relationship, the end of a job, or even the end of a way of thinking. To die means that what was once a viable option has ended. William Shakespeare explores different aspects of death in his play Othello. By using death, he infuses intrigue, conflict, and ultimately tragedy in this play. Reading the play one can discover that death is an overall motif that reappears numerous times throughout the play. Through the use of foreshadowing, point of view, and symbolism, Shakespeare constantly reminds his audience that because of death nothing ever lasts.
A literary response paper is a response to the specific literature that you have just read. It is your own interpretation and knowledge that you have gained from the specific reading. Othello is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare in 1603. Even though the play wasn't as popular as Romeo & Juliet, it is still performed all over the world today. The play tells the story of a powerful, well-known Venetian general, Othello, whose life and marriage are ruined by a treacherous, knavish, and malicious soldier, Iago. Othello is set against the backdrop of the wars between Venice and Turkey that raged in the latter part of the sixteenth century. Shakespeare breaks this play down into multiple motifs, death, being one, causing the most controversy and inside the play; he shows how foreshadowing, point of view, and symbols "kill" the characters.
When the literary device foreshadowing first appears in the play, it gives the reader a glimpse of what is to happen without telling what actually occurs. Desdemona is in a strange mood that foreshadows her coming death. Desdemona sings a song she learned from a maid of her mother's, who had been forsaken by her lover. She admits it was an old song, but it did well to bear out the maid's fate, as she died singing it (Shakespeare, 1603). Desdemona foreshadows her forthcoming death because she distinctly remembers a song from her mother's maid, the same song that the maid sang as she died. Desdemona shares this piece of information as if to warn Emilia or give her some sort of hint to what she believes is going to happen to her sometime soon.
As the literary device point of view makes its appearance, we see that Iago is more crazed than we are lead to believe. He has these soliloquies throughout the play, uncovering his villainous plots. An example of his downfall in the play (4.1.93) Iago has convinced Othello to hide while he gets Cassio to supposedly, "admit to sleeping with Desdemona". Iago then starts his soliloquy "Now I will question Cassio of Bianca...” Also, lies are being thrown in here while Iago has told Othello he will question Cassio of Desdemona, Iago clearly says he will ask of Bianca and says "As he [Cassio] smiles, Othello shall go mad;" Finally, in the climax, Emilia, Iago's wife, has come out to tell the story of her lying husband. Emilia asks Iago if he, indeed said that Desdemona be false with Cassio and he says yes, which she returns the line "You told a lie, an odious, damned lie; upon my soul a lie, a wicked lie." (5.2.179)
The last, yet strongest, of the literary devices Shakespeare