How Language Is and Stage Effects Are Used to Create Conflict and Tension

Othello Act I Scene 3
When Brabantio learns of Desdemona’s marriage, there is tension being built up in the scene as an aspect of the play explores themes of racism and discrimination. Desdemona, in a time where women often married men without a mutual relationship tied with love, has been questioned on whether her intentions were real or not. The Duke in line 66 expresses the incident as “And you of her, the bloody book of law / You shall yourself read in the bitter letter” The use of the word “bloody” triggers a strong and memorable response from the audience and puts empathise on the speech. As witchery is a capital punishment, the words of the Duke creates tension and provokes curiosity from the audience of Othello’s fate.
Othello follows with a speech to declare his position in the case, where he declares “I will round unvarnished tale deliver / Of my whole course of love”, hinting he will proceed to tell his story without ornamentation. With the surrounding characters accusing him of using witchcraft, Othello begins to, what it seems like to them, confess the magic he used, in which the audience knows, he hasn’t. This creates a build up of tension to the next part of Othello’s speech, and draws the audience and their attention. Before Shakespeare lets Othello continue his speech, there are disturbances that cause the speech to be pushed back. Brabantio’s judgement on Desdemona interrupts his awaited speech followed by the Duke announcing the court procedures. This momentary ‘pause’ in Othello’s speech creates the build up of tension and hence makes Othello’s final speech more memorable and intricately worded.
Iago’s soliloquy closing the scene is an important aspect of creating conflict and tension between the characters. His speech is delivered alone where lighting and stage effects are all focused on him. This creates an atmosphere that seems more personal as the audience learns about his character’s role in the play. The soliloquy allows Shakespeare to...