How does Shakespeare create an effective exposition to Othello?

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  • How does Shakespeare create an effective exposition to Othello?
    • The introduction of the antagonist before the title role/protagonist
      • Iago is introduced before Othello
      • Immediately sets up the theme of black and the white and the divide between Othello and Iago
    • Conflict
      • Iago-Othello
        • It is unclear what Iago's motivations are by but initially we are aware he dislikes Othello for choosing Cassio as his lieutenant over him
      • Iago-Roderigo
        • There is tension over money
    • Foreshadowing
      • Iago foreshadows his intentions and what actions he will take throughout the action of the play
      • We are immediately aware of his potential as a villain and his ability to manipulate the action onstage in the opening scenes
      • Iago engages with the audience, making them complicit in the action
      • The use of dramatic irony creates a stronger downfall of Othello
        • This is supported by the powerful position and characteristics of Othello at the beginning of the play
    • Follows the conventions of an Aristotelian tragedy
      • Exposition, Rising action, Climax/Crisis, Falling action and Resolution
      • Sets up Othello's noble status
      • Shows Iago's character and motivations
      • Othello and Desdemona's love is revealed
      • Iago encourages Roderigo's thwarted love
      • The likely context of warfare is implied
    • Subverts contextually views
      • Shakespeare presents Othello as noble and powerful
      • Arguably Othello is a higher position within the military circle of the play
      • First black hero in Western literature


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