Disturbed characters – making the links

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Disturbed characters – making the links

  1. 1. Disturbed Characters – Making the links Discuss how disturbed characters are presented in Othello & two Browning poems. Writing a good introduction
  2. 2. Discuss how disturbed characters are presented in Othello & two Browning poems. Your introduction must do several things to get your essay kicked off  1. Say what you are going to do: “In this essay I will compare how disturbed characters are presented in…” Name your texts. 2. Define your parameters for the keywords in the title – here you will want to be defining “disturbed” – a simple dictionary definition will work well here. Explaining it using some synonyms will help later as you won’t be repeating yourself 3. Briefly outline the texts you are going to look at the characters you are going to be talking about and why. (Iago, Othello, The Duke, Porphyria’s Lover) Don’t go into detail yet!
  3. 3. My sample introduction Tell us what your question is & Define “Disturbed” • In this essay I will compare how disturbed characters are presented in a number of texts. Firstly, I will define the use of the word “disturbed”: To fulfil this criteria, the characters I am looking at will present themselves as being emotionally troubled or maladjusted – even a bit deranged. They may be unstable or have difficulty coping with personal relationships. They could also have neurotic or psychotic tendencies, which could also show themselves through a capacity for violence.
  4. 4. My sample introduction Tell us what characters you’re looking at: Iago and Othello from ‘Othello’ • I will be looking at two characters from William Shakespeare's play ‘Othello’ and the protagonists from two Robert Browning poems, both dramatic monologues. I will look at Othello and Iago. Othello is a General in the Venetian army and Iago is his ensign – a trusted and loyal soldier. • Iago is shown to be a bitter and disturbed character from the start. Whereas Othello is shown to be a strong and powerful leader, who keeps his cool, never losing his head. However, throughout the course of ‘Othello’ his mental state deteriorates until his language bears more resemblance to Iago's as the play continues to its tragic ending and the death of Desdemona.
  5. 5. My sample introduction Tell us what characters you’re looking at: The Duke and Porphyria’s Lover • In the first Browning poem ‘My Last Duchess’, I will be focusing on the Duke who narrates the poem. Through the use of language he is shown to be a dominating and powerful figure, but is wracked with jealousy and a need to assert his control over his late wife. I will be also look at Browning's other dramatic monologue ‘Porphyria's Lover’, again focusing on the narrator of the monologue. In this poem Browning presents the protagonist as disturbed once more, but quite differently: The speaker in the poem openly reveals the murder he has committed, unless the Duke in Duchess who appears to speak in thinly disguised metaphors and riddles.
  6. 6. Making the links – Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess • Both are dramatic monologues in which the lover narrates his tale of love and agony • In PL we hear how a strange man has made Porphyria’s love for him last forever – but in MLD we find a cultured and suave man boasting about his previous wife and how he controlled her
  7. 7. Making the links – Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess • THEME – The central theme in both poems is Love, plus the need to preserve love for one’s self. • Both lovers wanted to keep their women just for them – while Porphyria’s boldness frustrated her husband to keep her close to him only, the Duchess’s flirtatious nature forced her husband to control her. • Both chose to kill the women they loved – both routed in powerful jealousy. • This is also a link to Othello as he was driven mad by jealousy – the “green eyed monster” that Iago encouraged.
  8. 8. Making the links – Porphyria’s Lover and My Last Duchess • THE LOVERS – What is different? • While the lover in PL’s decision to kill her is unexpected, the Duke’s decision is much more planned – as was Othello’s plan to kill Des • The similarity is that both murderers make the readers believe their victims are still alive by propping them up or depicting them in a canvas, forcing the beloved into submission • However, Porphyia’s Lover is an abnormal man who does not realise the repercussions of his act. • The Duke meanwhile is much more composed – He boasts how he has preserved his lady’s love, but is soon ready for another marriage.
  9. 9. Othello and Porphyria’s Lover • Both end with a women killed by her lover • Both Des and Porp are suffocated: Des with a pillow and Porp with her hair! • Othello gives the reason for this method in 5.2.3 saying: • “I’ll not shed her blood nor scar that whiter skins of her” adding “She must die, else she’ll betray more men” • Whereas Porp’s lover kills her because he wants to bind her to him eternally • Iago also kills his wife Emilia in 5.2 calling her a “villainous whore!” – though this is due to her revealing his plotting to the rest of the characters!
  10. 10. Othello and Porphyria’s Lover • Who characters answer to for their crimes is important – Both Iago and Porphyria’s Lover reference a ‘higher power’ • Iago says in 1.1.61 that “Heaven is my judge” meaning that the only entity that can punish him is God – a common viewpoint given by serial killers! • Whereas, in PL the speaker ends the poem saying “And yet God has not said a word” – this suggests that he only looks to God for judgement: As he has not reacted to the murder, struck him down etc, then it must not be a crime! = This suggests a very warped and deranged mind!
  11. 11. Men vs Women • Male authority is threatened across all the texts • Desdemona demonstrated her independence by going against her father’s wishes in marrying Othello (“She has deceived her father, and may thee” *1.3.333+) • In MLD The Duchess’s outgoing personality threatens the insecure Duke, as she laughs and flirts (in his eyes) with local peasants “some officious fool .. In the orchard” and even the painter she sat for • In PL Porphyria splits her time between the speaker and “vainer ties” – social events associated with ladies of her class & status such as the “gay feast” (party) she had been attending
  12. 12. Power Struggles in MLD and PL • MLD - “And I choose / Never to stoop.” The Duke will never back down, apologise or bend his will for any woman. • PL – “She put my arm about her waist” – Porp in control … “And, stooping, made my cheek lie there” (on her shoulder) Porp in dominant position • “That moment she was mine, mine” – wants to have control over her – “I propp’d her head up as before, only, this time my shoulder bore her head” Now her lover is in the dominant position, holding her up (though she is dead)
  13. 13. Iago Othello The Duke Porphyria’s Lover Jealous of Cassio, has paranoid thoughts that both Cassio and Othello have slept with his wife Emilia Grows jealous of Desdemona because of Iago’s prompting despite little to no evidence Jealous of Duchess smiling at other men, too easily pleased at the gifts they give her Jealous of Porphyria spending time with others at social gatherings Motive – What is it? How do they justify their actions? Control – Do they want control? Over who or what? Murder – what are their thoughts towards this? Pre-meditation – Are their actions planned? Aftermath of actions – is there remorse? Guilt?

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