Although Shakespeare's plays were written several hundred years ago, they are still able to captivate a contemporary audience. How can their continuing popularity be explained? Discuss with reference to "Othello.".
Shakespeare's plays are able to captivate a contemporary audience because of the themes that are explored throughout the plays, namely "Othello." The themes in Shakespeare's plays are of relevancy even today and are explored through a variety of dramatic techniques. These dramatic techniques used in "Othello" are what captivates audiences and help to explore the themes of jealousy, deception and honour and reputation. These themes are all closely linked together through the reasons of a character's actions. Through these themes and dramatic techniques, Shakespeare's plays are made popular even to audiences of today.
Throughout the play, Iago deceives everyone. The theme of deception is first brought out when Iago says to Othello, "Nay, but he prated and spoke such scurvy and provoking terms against your honour, that with the little godliness I have, I did full hard forbear him."(Act 1 Scene 2, lines 6-10) Othello believes what Iago is saying, that Roderigo was speaking badly of him, but he also believes that Iago had no part in insulting him and that he was trying to quieten Roderigo down. Here the audience knows of Iago's real feelings towards "The Moor" but Othello does not and so deception, through dramatic irony, is seen very early on in the play.
Iago also deceives his wife by not telling her of his plans or intentions of what he is going to do with the handkerchief that Desdemona dropped and was picked up by Emilia. When asked by Emilia what he was going to do with the handkerchief, he replied, "Why, what is that to you?" (Act 3 Scene 3, line 313) Iago is trying to conceal his plans from everyone including his wife. This form of dramatic irony foreshadows what Iago would probably do next with the handkerchief, leaving the audience in suspense.