Shakespeare has included Act one as an introduction into his play, a device that presents each character, his faults and his virtues.
If Act one was not present the play would be about Othello and not Iago’s manipulation, whom I believe the play is centred on.Iago’s evil behaviour is present in Act one allowing the audience Knowledge of his character and foresight into the occurrences of the play. Without Act one however Iago’s wickedness would be somewhat veiled; the audience would not know of his hatred for the Moor nor would they know his reasons for such actions. This would obviously add more fear and darkness into the play as no fears manners one cannot comprehend. This said the play would not be a Shakespearian masterpiece if the audience did not know everything about every important character on stage.Blake argues for Othello’s poesy and Shakespeare includes this in Iago’s character also. His Dialogue with Roderigo highlights his cunning trickery.
Shakespeare constructs Iago’s speech using almost perfect Iambic pentameters always- highlighting his control for his own emotions and well as other characters.At the end of Act one Shakespeare employs a very unique device in the discourse between Iago and Roderigo. The repetition of “put money in thy purse” is almost hypnotic, subliminal even. The audience get an impression of superiority here. Iago’s character demands fearful respect from the audience for his handling of Roderigo. Iago treats him as a devil would cajole and entice a victim.Act one is very lengthy but it is here Iago shows hid dislike for both Othello and Cassio, mocking them as “his Moorship” and “the Arithmetician”. Again Shakespeare shows Iago’s need to put himself above others.
Othello’s character is of premier importance to this play as is the characters history. Each of Shakespeare’s characters have a past, whether it bring about their downfall or elate them to success. Othello’s does both. Othello’s story is told to the noblemen of Venice with much poesy, separating him from an ordinary General. The Audience observes he is very learnï¿½d in the ways of the battlefield, that he is a mature and sensible man and that he truly love Desdemona.Another important factor Act one teaches us about Othello is that his love of Desdemona is still in its infancy. This is a significant fact because it is a part explanation for his behaviour thereafter.Desdemona’s character as all other important individuals in the play is introduced in Act one but as all Shakespearian woman she is not what the audience expects.
Yes she is Beautiful with many fitting suitors but she is intelligence and is freethinking.It is this virtuous trait that is most fatal for her. Shakespeare plays on it; uses it to plant the doubt in Othello’s mind. Desdemona deceived her father by marrying Othello in the first instance therefore it is only feasible she can Deceive Othello also.
If Act one were not present this would be more than believable especially with the young handsome Cassio gallantry.Without the inclusion of Act one Venice would have never featured in the play. This journey is very symbolic as it represents the power. It allows the idea of social hierarchy to be approached showing just where Othello ranks and to whom he has to answer to and who is below him. It also airs the views of the noblemen of Venice with the Duke’s “Your son-in-law is far more fair than black”.If Act one what not present Othello would have been less admired by the audience.
He seems to be a man who can do no wrong in the first act. Thought Act one introduces Othello it does nothing to introduce his fatal flaw, the thing that would bring about his downfall; his jealousy.This is seen only after Iago plants seeds of doubt into his head.
Though some critics such as Blake do not believe Othello is a jealous man, preferring to say, “it is the wreck of his faith and love” why he acts the way he does, this jealousy or “the feeling” as Blake puts it is essential to the play and not mentioned once on Act one. Thus based on the technicality of it Act one is unnecessary but for the beauty of the play, for the art of it, it is very necessary, as necessary as Shakespeare intended.