Othello

by

William Shakespeare

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Othello: Mood 1 key example

Read our modern English translation.
Definition of Mood
The mood of a piece of writing is its general atmosphere or emotional complexion—in short, the array of feelings the work evokes in the reader. Every aspect of a piece of writing... read full definition
The mood of a piece of writing is its general atmosphere or emotional complexion—in short, the array of feelings the work evokes in the reader. Every aspect... read full definition
The mood of a piece of writing is its general atmosphere or emotional complexion—in short, the array of feelings the work evokes... read full definition
Mood
Explanation and Analysis:

The mood of Othello is consistently dark and pessimistic. The play is conflict-ridden from the very start, the action beginning with Iago expressing his contempt for Othello and causing a dispute between him and Desdemona. The audience is thus immediately placed within a scene of discord, with such an abrupt beginning promoting the sense of anxiety and suspicion that will come to characterize the whole play. The consistency of this somber tone also lends the play a sense of fatalism, with strife and discord being sewn into the play’s fabric from the very start.

Furthermore, the action of the play is dominated by high passion and drama, with violence and fighting regular fixtures. Indeed, the whole play is set against a backdrop of war. The combination of these elements forges a mood that promotes insecurity in the audience. The play, so dominated by chaos and deceit, makes it difficult for the audience to know whom to trust and to whom to give their sympathies. The audience is left constantly on edge, forced to become as suspicious as the characters in the play.

While the play is dark throughout, the tragedy of the ending is particularly bleak and intensifies the play’s sinister and depressing mood. When Othello kills Desdemona, whom the audience knows is innocent, the audience is left frustrated by Othello’s failure to see the truth as well as mournful for Desdemona’s tragic fate. Othello’s revelation of his mistake also inspires empathy, with the sincerity of his remorse clear in his subsequent suicide. The play’s ending in ultimate chaos consolidates the darkness of the mood of Othello that is present from the very start.