Shakespeare’s Othello alters the association of verse and prose with characters in order to demonstrate the degeneration of Othello.
Unlike Browning shifting between enjambment and caesura, Shakespeare is the master of manipulating language by writing in either verse or prose in his play to gradually reveal the character and serve the situation. The convention at the Shakespeare’s period was to write play in verse. In doing so, his extensive use of verse in Othello is usually associated with the socially or morally elevated character like Duke and Othello. For example, in the opening lines of Othello’s speech to the Venetian Senate “Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,/ My very noble and approved good masters,/ that I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter/ It is most true; true, I have married her:” (Shakespeare I.II.12). Shakespeare cleverly uses enjambment and caesura in the verse to ensure that every line contains ten syllables with an iambic metrical pattern. Significantly, Othello is viewed as a noble, well-spoken and elegant man in the play despite the fact that he is a Moor, which seemingly supports a non-racist view of the text.
From the Library of Congress: TITLE: Thos. W. Keene. Othello CALL NUMBER: POS – TH – 1884 .O7, no. 1 (C size) [P&P] REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZC6-58 (color film copy transparency) RIGHTS INFORMATION: No known restrictions on publication. MEDIUM: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 104 x 69 cm. CREATED/PUBLISHED: Cleveland, O. : W.J. Morgan & Co. Lith.,  CREATOR: W.J. Morgan & Co. Lith. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, a swift movement for Othello from poetry to prose is seen in Act IV when Othello screams “Lie with Her! lie on her! – We say lie on her, when they belie/ her. – Lie with her! ’Zounds, that’s fulsome!” (Shakespeare IV.I.61), in which Othello becomes very much like Iago who speaks in prose most of the time. Instead of speaking in iambic pentameter, he uses a great deal of prose suggesting outrageous ways after knowing his wife’s infidelity. This language portrays Othello as irrational and not as highly civilized because he cannot control his angers, a common stereotype of “Moors”. Shakespeare’s remarkably skill in his shift from verse to prose through portraying Othello indicates the degeneration of a noble nature of Othello. More importantly, these verse and prose associations serve to strengthen Othello’s racist tones and perpetuate stereotypes of Africans and others of different ethnic identity.
William, Shakespeare. Othello. Dover Thrift Edition Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1996. Print