What’S The Clown Pun In Othello?

Updated 30 September, 2023
In Othello, despite not having a huge rule within building the plot or the interactions between the character themselves, the clown is essential in order to set a brief buffer to let the audience recover from the events before and after the play. By bringing forth such a character like the clown that does not need any development to enrich the piece, Shakespeare is able to shift the current grim tone to a more lighthearted one while pausing the dramatic plot of the story.
Detailed answer:

In most literary pieces, there will often be some form of comedic relief whether it is an exchange with side characters or an event that happens outside of the plot. In Othello, this is no different for the clown.
To clearly understand the clown’s impact on tone of the story, reader’s must understand what they had just experienced briefly before being introduced to the clown: Iago had just gave his “evil plan” through a soliloquy on how he plans to set Cassio up and ultimately convincing Othello that Desdemona had just cheated on him. Therefore, the audience would be set on a heavier mood because they had just been foreshadowed on what is going to happen. Because of this, the clown and his interactions with the musician acts as a resetter and helps lighten tone and grim mood that had just been put on the play. The clown’s purpose is further emphasized with the dialogue that he has with the musician. Lines given by the clown such as “the General so likes your music that he desires you, for love’s sake, to make no more noise with it” and “If you have music that could not be heard, to ‘t again.” gives the audience to laugh at and recover from what had just been unfoiled by Iago. Such lines makes the audience laugh merely by how ridiculous and ironic the lines are given. By using the presence of a comedic character such as a clown, Shakespeare drifts the focus away from the grim tone of the entire piece and allows the audience to laugh at some of the ridiculousness of the clown’s character.

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