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Four simple literary conventions of Elizabethan theatre that can be found in Othello Act 5 are:
1. Heightened Dialogue:
In Othello, Act 5, Scene I, we see a fine example of heightened or dramatic dialogue when Othello speaks before he exits and Lodovico and Gratiano enter. In this six line oration before exiting, Othello talks poetically and emphatically, and the following line is a sample of his heightened discourse:
Forth of my heart those charms, thine eyes, are blotted;
Thy bed, lust-stain'd, shall with lust's blood be spotted.
This is Elizabethan theatre dialog that goes beyond plain ordinary talk. It lends to the drama of the scene and helps give an intensified aura or atmosphere to the scene and the issues being experienced by the characters’ in the play.
Othello gives a soliloquy in Act V Scene II, before Desdemona awakens. A soliloquy is a theatre convention where a character speaks his or her inner thoughts aloud, but to himself or herself, not in hearing range of other characters. A soliloquy imparts important information to the audience through the character giving voice to his or her inner thoughts, emotions and desires. At the beginning of Act V, Scene II, Othello enters the bedchamber where Desdemona is in bed sleeping, and orates his soliloquy. It ends with the waking of Desdemona.
3. Stylized, Dramatic Actions
As with heightened dialogue, the gesticulations, actions, and movements of actors upon the Elizabethan stage were also heightened. In Othello and other plays by William Shakespeare, the gestures and such onstage were more flamboyant and expressive than what would normally find in everyday life on the street or in typical situations at home and elsewhere. These stylized, dramatic actions and movements of characters also added to the drama of the play, and were an accent to the dialog taking place as well onstage.
Stylized, dramatic actions in Act V of Othello include the heightened dramatic actions of characters’ murdered.
4. Elaborate Costumes
Colorful, detailed costumes of detail that evoked the period and the status of the character were an important Elizabethan convention. These elaborate costumes would signify a character’s social standing and lend an air of authenticity to the era being revealed in the play. These costumes helped the audience to readily frame an opinion of a character quite quickly. They could immediately ascertain whether a character was poor, rich, of royalty, or not. In Act V and elsewhere in the play Othello, Desdemona’s costumes revealed her standing and her character. Othello, her husband experienced her natural beauty, and her sense of style through this Venetian woman’s expressive wardrobe.
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