“Shakespeare’s major strength is to build situations that explore what it is to be human. He delves into situations, ideas and emotions that are so human that they transcend time and are as relevant today as they were when he was alive.”
Choose two scenes/portions of scenes and explore how these scenes represent ideas, situations and/or emotions that you believe transcend particular contexts.
In Shakespeare’s Othello, a number of ideas, situations and emotions are closely examined that are still applicable to a modern audience, namely what it means to be human. He creates multi-dimensional characters that develop over the course of the play, making them extremely believable and relatable to all audiences. Through the characters’ interactions, universal themes of jealousy, deception, betrayal and love emerge that continue to be relevant to all contexts.
One of Shakespeare’s major strengths is his ability to build characters that are not necessarily the stereotypical hero. Modern audiences generally expect that the protagonist would be similar to a heroic character from Greek mythology or someone who is essentially perfect. However, Shakespeare creates the flawed hero in Othello, for example. He is of a generally high social status yet is dark-skinned and subject to great prejudices from the society. Othello’s major flaw was that he allowed himself to be manipulated by Iago because of his own insecurities. Over the course of the play, it is evident that Iago’s stronghold over Othello tightens as Iago’s use of crude language begins to creep into Othello’s words as in “She’s like a liar gone to burning hell” (Act 5, Scene 2) as opposed to “the fair lady” (Act 1, Scene 3) when describing Desdemona. This contrast emphasizes Othello’s loss of control of his own reasoning and his willingness to trust Iago. Othello is not the perfect hero because he loved Desdemona too much and idealized her to the point that just the thought of her infidelity triggered his...