Recognition and Reversal: Othello

1703 Words Dec 17th, 2011 7 Pages
A Miller
Prof. Gould
ENG 262
12-3-11
Recognition and Reversal: Othello Aristotle classifies both recognitions and reversals as the greatest point of tragedy in a play or story. Recognitions and reversals are consistently used to develop character, advance the plot, and get a reaction of pity and fear from the audience. Recognition is the act of realization or knowledge or feeling that someone or something present has been encountered before. Reversals are a major change in attitude or principle or point of view. For the main character or hero/protagonist to realize everything that has happened throughout, reversals are used by the writer or writers. Recognition is a device which helps
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Furthermore, she realizes that she has played an unintentional part in the tragedy by following Iago’s request to steal Desdemona’s handkerchief. It has all been a plot by Iago to destroy Othello, and this is finally revealed to everyone, including Emilia (Kennedy and Gioia, V. II. 179-182, 187-189). To see Emilia come to full awareness is to see first the emotional breakdown caused by this revelation, and then to see it begin to build, as she shows heartbreak, guilt, awareness of betrayal, and recognition of supreme cruelty on the part of someone she has trusted with her life. She finally speaks with the words, “Villainy, villainy, villainy!” (Kennedy and Gioia, V. II. 197), knowing she has to persuade everyone of Desdemona’s innocence. Recognition again occurs in Act V Scene II when Emilia hears Othello mention the handkerchief, after he has killed Desdemona: "With that recognizance and pledge of love / Which I first gave her. I saw it in his hand; / It was a handkerchief, an antique token / My father gave my mother" (Kennedy and Gioia, V. II. 221-224). At the same time, the attending visitors and soldiers, who have been called into action by Emilia’s cries in Act V, Scene II, are also realizing the truth of these terrible events. The reversal occurs as Emilia discloses that it was she who stole Desdemona’s handkerchief, “She give it Cassio? No, alas, I found it, / And I did give’t my husband” (Kennedy and Gioia, V. II 236-237). Immediately Othello knows that

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