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Comparing and contrasting Act 4 Scene 2 of Othello to any another scene from Hamlet,...

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divinesolace | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 16, 2010 at 3:38 AM via web

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Comparing and contrasting Act 4 Scene 2 of Othello to any another scene from Hamlet, Twelfth Night or Troilus and Cressida. 

The pair do not have to be similar, but need to make a comparable argument! Need to read and interpret the passafes, paying attention to dramatic contexts and staging. Ideas would be very much appreciated.

 Please note the section of Act 4 Scene 2 is just before Roderigo enters, i.e. lines 1- 176.

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted March 16, 2010 at 8:49 AM (Answer #1)

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If I had this assignment, I would compare it to Act 3, Scene 1 in Hamlet.  Both scenes involve a type of interrogation between a man and a woman:  Othello confronts Desdemona; Hamlet confronts Ophelia.  Each man is angry and does not clearly communicate the source of this anger to the woman. The woman in each case reacts with shock and hurt.  Both passages are filled with derogatory terms attacking women and their faithlessness.  And in each case, the man has written the woman off.  Each scene is somewhat orchestrated by a third party:  Iago in Othello; Claudius and Polonius in Hamlet.  The idea of revenge is prominent in the two scenes.

So, there would be much to discuss in terms of conflict between the characters.  In terms of dramatic context, you might consider the motivation of the male characters in this confrontation and the other characters who act as catalysts for this scene.  High emotion is obvious in each:  the female characters experiencing much pain and distress, but also sympathy and compassion for the male characters; the male characters blustering about hiding their pain behind hurtful words.

The sets would be quite different.  The Othello passage takes place in a small room in a castle, usually portrayed as a bedroom.  Othello and Desdemona are alone with Emilia just outside the door.  In Hamlet, Ophelia is out in the open when Hamlet spies her.  Claudius and Polonius are usually on a different level overlooking the two lovers.

I hope this gives you some ideas.

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