Setting In Othello

Decent Essays
Setting is often a key component as characters are usually influenced or defined by their surroundings. This is also a highly common theme in Othello, where the women are said to commit unspeakable sins in Venice only God could bear witness to, which is a society associated with sexual exploration and freedom. This implies that, in Othello, setting poses great influence on character behaviour. This piques my interest in whether setting poses impact on characters, no matter the time or media of texts, which accounts for the two materials to be studied in this essay: the epic poem Paradise Lost IX of 1667 and television series Top of the Lake of 2013. For these two texts, the presence of paradisiacal landscapes bear great symbolic meanings and …show more content…
Out of the 12 books, only Book IX will be examined in this essay. Book IX depicts how Satan tempts Eve into committing the ancestral sin. He does it out of jealousy of Adam and in spite because he is banished from Eden, although he is one of the creators of the paradisiacal land. The book begins with how he takes form of a serpent, and describes the process of persuading Eve. Finally, the sin having been committed, the focus shifts to Adam and Eve turning against each other as they await the judgment of God. Some other books in the epic will also be referenced in this essay. While paradisiacal landscapes are defined as untouched, isolated, beautiful and pure land for both texts, they bear juxtaposing symbolic meanings in the two texts. Eden in Paradise Lost Book IX is also known as “Paradise” (“and to the border comes Eden, where delicious Paradise now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, as with a rural mound, the champaign head”) “of a steep wilderness” , which clearly depicts the isolation of Eden. This is further reinforced by Satan’s words – “sweet interchange of hill and valley, rivers, woods and plains, now land, now sea, and shores with forest crowned, rocks, dens and caves” [9.115-118]. The positive diction such as “delicious” and “sweet” emphasize on the sanctity of the landscape. This is solidified by the word “crowned” , …show more content…
Eden consistently represents innocence in Paradise Lost IX. This is displayed firstly, in God’s instructions to Adam and Eve. They are told not to eat any fruit from “the tree of knowledge” . Since they follow God’s instructions, it shows that they are literally innocent as they lack any knowledge. Innocence is also seen in Satan tempting Eve, which reveals that Eve and Adam are not aware of the concept of death and shame as Eve says “whate’er death is, some dreadful thing no doubt” . This shows that Adam and Eve are innocent. As the only inhabitants in the untouched Eden are innocent, it can be clearly established that the landscape may represent innocence. Paradise in Top of the Lake represents, in terms of the entirety of the show, the tainting of innocence. While the name and appearance of the landscape itself suggest the innocence that is seen in Paradise Lost, they are greatly contradicted by the inhabitants and activities of the landscape. The women are said to produce “menstrual waste” and do not have “grey water sewage systems”, which implies that they are physically tainting the landscape. There are scenes of women walking around naked on the property. This should draw parallel with Adam and Eve’s nudity in Paradise Lost Book IX, but the dubious past of the women (as some women are sex or drug addicts) adds a twinge of irony to the notion – the women are not innocent, and

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