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As the play commences, we meet Roderigo, who exclaims; “Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly that thou, Iago, who hast had my purse, as if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this” This opening discloses very little to the audience. We invade upon a conversation taking place on a Venice street late at night. This immediately creates atmosphere. The fact that there is a nocturnal setting and two men arguing builds up tension and suspense in the mind of the audience.

It is effective to start a drama because it has such an intriguing opening sentence. It makes the audience want to explore and they become eager to identify with the characters. Roderigo’s speech is powerful, emotional and dramatic. He opens with such a powerful paragraph with “Tush! never tell me. ” From here we can be led to believe he is a dominant character. Shakespeare’s use of language in the opening scene is typical to his many other work’s. he makes use of thou which is the less respectful, insulting form of you.


This seems to indicate to us Roderigo holds great status and the character on the receiving end is of low status. The audience now feel the need to delve deeper and Shakespeare feeds our desire with Iago’s come back. His reply is cunning and reverses the backlash and under takes a strong oath and exclaims that he is disgusted that Roderigo has such a low opinion of him. As an audience we are perhaps a little confused the but it soon becomes apparent almost immediately that Iago is manipulative and takes advantage of Roderigo.

This is effective to a drama as the early stages of the play contain a sense of dramatic irony. Not only does the opening to Othello create a strong feeling of tension but Shakespeare also encourages the audience to continue involvement by using various strategies which include disorientation, disturbance and by raising questions which the audience feel the need to seek the answers. The disturbance is introduced by the intrusion of a Venice street at night with the banter of two men.

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Kylie Garcia

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