Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Is the plot structure of the play Othello episodic or climactic?

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would argue that Othello is largely episodic, because it is expansive and structurally somewhat diffuse. One might think that the fact the play opens in Venice, and then the action moves to Cyprus, is an arbitrary choice on the part of Shakespeare. Iago's verbosity and the expansiveness of his plotting against Othello, plus the presence of characters who have little direct bearing on the story, are episodic features as well.

Try to think of Othello in comparison with a play like Macbeth. The latter is much more concise, and the action in it moves more quickly, than in Othello. In Othello, Shakespeare spins out scenes with repetitions, such as Othello's demands to Desdemona to give him the fateful handkerchief. Also, you might wish to familiarize yourself a bit with the operatic adaptation by Giuseppe Verdi of Othello. Verdi's librettist Arrigo Boito excised much of the material in the play and tightened the structure, creating a drama which some people (opera buffs of course!) have even...

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