More on the arrival / exit of actors

MORE on the arrival / exit of actors: Shakespeare uses the possibilities of this uninterrupted flow of actors to create juxtaposition – that is, the setting side-by-side of episodes to create dramatic tension. For example:
  • In Othello, a dramatic scene ends with the threatening prospect of the Duke’s council for Othello and is immediately followed by the next scene of the Duke in council 
  • In Act 2, Iago slanders Cassio by reporting on his liking for drink, which is immediately followed by the noisy entrance of a drunken Cassio beating up the unfortunate Roderigo
  • In Act 3, one scene ends with Othello cursing and denouncing Desdemona for her supposed adultery with Cassio, while the next scene begins with her seeking out Cassio at his lodgings, which the audience knows is a dangerous thing for her to do, given her husband’s suspicions.
In Act 4, there are two scenes in one, with Iago goading Cassio to talk lasciviously about Bianca, knowing all the while that Othello is eavesdropping and believing that Cassio is talking about his sexual adventures with Desdemona. Othello speaks in fury to the audience about what he hears, while Iago continues to encourage Cassio to boast of Bianca’s doting on him, knowing how it will further enrage Othello. Shakespeare has prepared for all the stage-managements necessary: 
- Othello entering, then fainting
- Cassio entering then exiting
- Othello recovering and standing hidden
- Cassio then returning and boasting of his conquest of Bianca, with Othello hiding and listening. 
It almost resembles a French farce, were it not for the tragic consequences.    
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