Comic Relief in Othello

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 19:06   /   Views: 429
In many of the literature written in Shakespearean time puns were used, to add pizzazz, and comic relieve. This is true about William Shakespeare’s Othello, but what separates this story’s puns from the others is the way Shakespeare had characters respond to it, developing the character greater in the reader’s mind. Two scenes of this play included a clown who talked many with puns. Shakespeare included this clown not only for comic relieve, but to throw light on the characters.

The first scene the clown is introduced in is act three scene one. In the beginning of this scene, the reader can tell the clown is included to relief tension. Right when the clown enters the scene, he starts of making fun of the musicians saying, “Why, masters, have your instruments been in/ Naples that they speak I’ th’ nose thus?” (III. I. 3-4). Thus, one can infer that this is merely comic relief, because there is no better time to include comic relieve than after a serious scene. In the scene prior to this one Cassio and Roderigo got in an affray. A few lines later, after the musicians leave, Cassio and the clown are by themselves, and Cassio asks; “Dost thou hear me, mine hones friend?”(III. i. 21). The clown responds with a pun, “No. I hear not your honest friend. I hear you”(III. i. 22). This clearly states that the clown is being funny, but what is interesting is the way Cassio responds and shows something about his character. He responds by saying, “Prithee keep up thy quillets[puns]…”, and then goes on to ask the clown to do him favor. This shows the reader, indirectly, that Cassio is a serious person and does not joke around much. This foreshadows the way Cassio may act in the future scenes.

The other scene that the clown is in is act three scene four. The clown starts the scene, by responding to Desdemona’s question, “Do you know, sirrah, where Lieutenant/ Cassio lies?”(III. iv. 1). With a pun, he replies, “I dare not say he lies anywhere”(III. iv. 2). Just like the other scene the clown is being funny and having fun with Desdemona, but what reveals Desdemona’s character is the way she responds by saying “Why, Man?”(III. iv. 3). This shows how Desdemona is a gullible person, and she takes every word a person says literally. Also to show that the clown is trying to be funny, is in line seven he says, “To tell where he lodges is to tell you where he lie?”(III. iv. 7). He is making no sense and shows Shakespeare also included the clown to relieve the tension. Something uniquely shown about Desdemona’s character, is she responded by mocking the clown and saying, “Can you enquire him out, and be edified/ by report?”(III. iv. 14-15).

The clown that Shakespeare included in this play was there to relieve tension, but mainly to develop the character. Shakespeare is known for doing things like this in many of his works. Shakespeare is not the only author to use puns, but he is among the few to use it in the manner of showing light on the character. Many books written in Shakespeare’s time had puns in it.

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