Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

How an Outside Influence Acts as a Powerful Force

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Within ‘Othello’ Iago appears cunning, the confidence he has allows him to act as an outside force manipulating the relationship between Othello and Desdemona. The interpretations of the outside influence are questionable throughout the three texts.

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. Iago’s ability to observe allows him to gain control of Othello and seek revenge.

Whether this is for the goodness of his community or due to jealousy is unknown. However, through language, form and structure it is clear that a gradual decay in both love and morals takes place. Iago’s performance creates the impression that he is a heartless character as no true friendship, love or morals are shown. “I am not what I am”, he is a devious onlooker who aims to destruct happiness, yet the reason for this remains uncertain. Iago can be classified as an outside force due to his dishonesty and cruel intentions, which often only the audience is aware of due to his mysterious actions. Beware my lord of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster”. The audience is positioned to understand that William Shakespeare is presenting irony as Iago is warning others of jealousy, when perhaps he is tied down by his own. Utilising personification also foreshadows the cruel intention Iago has to damage the contentment in Othello’s life. A clever choice of words allows Iago to deliver the impression that he is a loyal and honest man. Throughout the play he sets the stage to ensure Othello and Desdemona’s relationship becomes corrupt, denying himself of any responsibility.

This contrasts to Jed Parry in ‘Enduring Love’. Lead by his belief in God, a strong emotional attachment is made with Joe, one which Jed is persistently honest about. With the belief that God “has sent me to you” Jed ignores Joe’s resistance and does not seek revenge, instead rejection brings him closer to Joe. This categorises Jed as a contemporary villain, as he goes against traditional values of a villain. Perhaps, due to Iago conforming to the conventional idea of a Shakespearian villain, the reader may classify him as a more effective outside.

He places himself outside of situations; he observes, manipulates and watches Othello crumble. Whereas Enduring Love presents a contemporary villain who moves beyond traditional expectations of causing unhappiness; bitterness is replaced with calm tones, “Love has given me new eyes, I see with such clarity, in such detail”. Jed’s bizarre approach arguably challenges the reader more than Iago’s evasive behaviour. Written in 1603, ‘Othello’ touched upon a major issue in Europe of this time period; the intermingling of Muslim religion and culture with the West.

Ironically, Othello is sent to protect the Venetians from the influence of Muslim Turks even though he is ‘the Moor’. Iago uses the issue of Othello’s race to present him as a misfit; “Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, or else the devil will make a grandsire of you”. Shakespeare plays on 16th century beliefs through the symbolism of the “devil”. It was thought that often the devil took the shape and form of a black man. Insensitive words corrupt Othello’s reputation of “valiant”. Othello has determination, loyalty and commitment towards his “gentle Desdemona”.

This causes him to resist 16th century attitudes tawards race. “Let him do his spite…I love thee gentle Desdemona”. Repelling obstacles is key to achieving an idyllic relationship. Jay Gatsby is similar to Othello, not in race, but due to issues of social class. Jay Gatsby represents the ‘new’ rich from West Egg, he lacks social connections so he flaunts his wealth. This is an issue F. Scott Fitzgerald mocks throughout, as this novel presents a social commentary upon the corrupt state of materialism in the 1920’s.

Fitzgerald uses many references to time throughout the novel. Fitzgerald delivers the message that everything in this lifestyle is temporary– emotions, actions, parties, or feelings, because they are all fuelled through material objects. | Nick Carraway, the narrator describes Jay Gatsby as, “running down like an over-wound clock”. The simile signifies both Gatsby’s consuming desire to stop time and his inability to do so

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How an Outside Influence Acts as a Powerful Force. (2017, Apr 07). Retrieved from

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