Essay, Research Paper: Othello And Iago

Shakespeare: Othello

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Iago (Othello’s ensign) uses love against Othello (general of the Venetian
army) to cause him to experience jealousy. He not only utilizes the Moor’s
love for Desdemona, but also his love for Iago and their friendship “My lord,
you know I love you…”(1.3.117) Funny enough, Iago gives warning to Othello
of the very negative emotion that he hopes to inflict upon him! (1.3.166).“Oh
beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock the
meat it feeds on…” The first time that Iago’s plan is seen is (3.3.33).
Iago: “Ha! I like not that!” Othello: What dost thou say?” Iago:
“Nothing my lord: or if-Know not what. Othello: Was not that Cassio parted
from my wife?” Iago: Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it, that would
steal away so guilty-like, seeing you coming. He continues his manipulating of
his friend (3.3.95). Iago: “Did Michael Cassio, when you woo’d my lady, know
of your love?” Othello: “He did, from first too last: why dost thou ask?”
Iago: “But for a satisfaction of my thought; no further harm.” Othello:
“Why of thy thought, Iago?” Iago: “I did not think he had been aquatinted
with her.” Othello: “ O, yes; and went between us very oft.” See how he
makes it almost seem as though Othello discovered this out on his own and Iago
seems as a mere friend when the find is made. Iago’s true nature is seen at
this point. Iago refers to himself as a devil, but to say that he is bad because
he is bad doesn’t explain why he is repeatedly explains himself to himself.
Your honest friend is one who is always there for you and who will always tell
you the truth. Iago has a reputation for honesty and uses it for dishonest
purposes. His nature is ugly in the way that compares others to animals,
especially when referring to their sexuality. Othello is a military man who is
often looked at with respect in this category. However, when taken away from the
military eye where he offers so much safety, he is constantly mentioned by his
color in a degrading way. Brabantio, Desdemona’s father uses “Moor” as a
derogatory name for Othello, but Othello is called other things, including “my
lord” and “general”. After the first two scenes of the play, Othello’s
color is rarely mentioned, so we may forget that when the play is seen
Othello’s blackness always makes him different from everyone else. Reference
to him as “the Moor” emphasized that difference, but it is emphasized in
other ways, as well. He is strong and firm in character but also has a loving
side where Desdemona ( Othello’s wife, Brabantio’s daughter) comes into
play. He came from a loving mother and father which was mentioned in the
importance of “the handkerchief” In Shakespeare’s time obedience was
though to be one of a woman’s primary values, and Desdemona thinks herself to
be as obedient, but as in the case with her father, she seems to have her own
interpretation of what that means. She is beautiful, both in body and spirit.
It’s not something she mentions, or even seems to be aware of, buy it affects
how others treat her and think of her. Desdemona spends much of her time making
a case, for herself, for Cassio, and finally for Othello. Iago’s devilish
character is seen throughout the play. Towards the end of scene two in which
Iago brings about Cassio’s downfall, he persuades Cassio to appeal to
Desdemona, and plans to make Othello believe that Caossio and Desdemona are
having an affair. Then he says, “By the mass, ‘tis morning;…Pleasure and
action make the hours seem short” (2.3.378-379). In other words, he’s been
having so much fun during his busy night, so the time has just flown by. In the
last scene of the play, after Iago’s treachery has been proven, Othello says
to Lodovico, “ Will you, I pray, demand that demi-devil…Why he hath thus
ensnared my soul and body? (5.2.300-302). Iago’s reply is famous. He says,
“Demand me nothing: what you know , you know:…From this time forth I never
will speak word.” (5.2.303-304). Iago is ready and willing to explain himself
to Othello,Roderigo, and to us. So then why does he choose to silence himself
now? Maybe he can’t think of another lie. In the characterization of Othello,
no one describes him best than his wife and unfortunate victim. In the Venetian
Senate, Othello tells the story of how he and Desdemona fell in love. Brabantio
urges that Othello used magic and drugs on Desdemona, and that she be brought to
testify; he says to her, “Do you perceive in all this noble company…Where
most you owe obedience?” (1.3.179-180). In reply, Desdemona affirms her duty
to her father, who gave her life and education, but asserts that she has a
higher duty to Othello, because he is her husband. She says, “My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty: To you I am bound for life and education; My
life and education both do learn me how to respect you; you are the lord of
duty; I am hitherto your daughter: but here’s my husband, and so much duty as
my mother show’d to you, preferring you before her father, so much I challenge
that I may profess due to the Moor, my lord. (1.3.180-189). Further in the act,
she says, “My heart’s subdued even to the very quality of my lord: Saw
Othello’s visage in his mind, and to his honor and his valiant parts did I my
soul and fortunes consecrate. (1.3.250-254). “Subdued” means “in harmony
with” and Othello’s “quality” is both his character and his profession
as a warrior. Desdemona asserting that she is very much like her husband and
belongs with him, even in war. She shows tat she understands and rejects the
bigotry that is directed at him. A person’s “visage” is his face, and she
understands that most Europeans consider black to be ugly, but she saw past his
face to his honor and courage, which she adores. Her charter is well described
here as beautiful both inside and out.
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