By Nicholas Marsh (auth.)
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Extra info for Shakespeare: The Tragedies
It is becoming increasingly clear that we will draw further conclusions about the tragedies from our examination of their opening minutes. For example, confusion has figured, in one form or another, in all the openings we have looked at. Before we pursue these ideas, however, let us look at the opening minutes of Macbeth: 1 Witch. 2 Witch. 3 Witch. 1 Witch. 2 Witch. 3 Witch. 1 Witch. 2 Witch. 3 Witch. All SCENE!. An open place. Thunder and lightning. Enter three WITCHES. When shall we three meet again?
Enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA. (Othello, 3, iii, 262-83) Othello is thinking about the possibility that his wife is unfaithful. His thoughts consist of reasons for and against being suspicious of her. ago's 'honesty' and 'learned spirit' make Othello inclined to believe him; but Desdemona's appearance makes his love and trust return- if she is false, 'then heaven mocks itself, I I'll not believe it'. In between these contrary views, Othello dwells on arguments which make her adultery plausible: his colour, lack of refined manners and age all persuade him that Iago must be right.
Ago's speech the pace varies considerably. For example, lines 15-18 are broken into short phrases, and the blank Openings 21 verse IS interrupted by two irregular half-lines, as he tells how Othello rejected him. g. 'That never set a squadron in the field). ago's contempt for Cassio. ago's sentences may remind us of the loose, emotional structure of Gloucester's diction in King Lear. Benveen lines 8 and 33 there are only two sentences: one of four lines, the other a vast structure which hangs loosely upon colons and a question-mark, in five long sections, each one almost a paragraph in its own right.