Otelllo And Desdemona Character Analysis

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In Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello, many compositional aspects change greatly between the first duet between Otello and Desdemona in act one and their second duet in act three. One of the most significant of these changed elements is the emotional position of Otello. Between the two duets, due to the skillfully crafted deceptions of Iago, Otello’s profound love and respect for Desdemona, his partner, is compromised and he moves to a place of interwoven devastation and rage (Kelly 351). This emotional modification is the fundamental source of the many differences between the duets from acts one and three. The impacts of this emotional transition are clearly visible in the words and actions of Otello as he expresses his internal struggles with Desdemona’s …show more content…
This can be seen in the dialog of the two sections as, during the first duet, both characters express similar ideas and each reciprocate the feelings of the other while, during the second, asserted ideas are met with conflicting responses and expressions of feelings are unreciprocated or blatantly detested (Verdi 346-49, 368-73). Another similar concept is the idea that Otello moves from a place of unity with society to a position of societal separation (André 14-15). Throughout act one, particularly emphasized during the love duet, is the depiction of Otello as belonging in Venetian society (André 14). Examples of this are present from the first moment Otello enters the stage exclaiming “the glory is ours and Heaven’s!” and in the positive reception of this statement by the people in Cyprus (Verdi 334-35). By the second duet, Verdi is beginning to paint Otello in a dark, foreign, and disjointed light. This comes through during the duet in the form of his violence towards Desdemona and is emphasized by the orchestra through eruptions of activity and low, sinister, undertones (Hepokoski 11-12). This separation from society is even more prominent in the film version of Otello that we viewed as a class on Wednesday November 9th. Otello is portrayed through the use of darker skin coloring makeup and is depicted preforming pagan rituals. Both of these elements mark him as identifiably separate from the typical member of society at the time (André

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