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Do you agree that the soliloquies in 1.3 and 2.1 establish Iago as a tragic villain?

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Introduction

´╗┐Do you agree that the soliloquies in 1.3 and 2.1 establish Iago as a tragic villain? Shakespeare uses the dramatic device of soliloquy to present his characters? inner thoughts and feelings. It is through these speeches that the audience can see and perhaps relate to the sometimes dark or forbidden feelings of the characters. Iago?s soliloquies establish him as a tragic villain through the way in which they reveal his misanthropic ideas and emphasise the evils and weaknesses of his mind. They show Iago?s desire to degrade his fellow characters so as to increase his own status within his mind. They illustrate and bring to light a repressed homosexual attraction towards Othello and also show his distorted, sociopathic attitude. Before the soliloquy in 1.3, Iago persuades Roderigo not to kill himself over Desdemona. Iago is again talking to Roderigo before the soliloquy in 2.1 and is trying to convince Roderigo that Desdemona has had an affair with Cassio. Iago?s frequent use of animal imagery to describe others demonstrates him to be a tragic villain as, by doing so, he tries to undermine the Elizabethan theory of ?The Great Chain of Being? - a hierarchical order ruled by God. Doing this would have been a great sin in Elizabethan times as it would be disobeying God?s order, so some in the audience would have been shocked at the way Iago dehumanises those of higher status than himself. ...read more.

Middle

In the soliloquy in 2.1, Iago says he wants ?to make the moor thank me, love me and reward me for making him egregiously an ass.? This could demonstrate a longing and a need for Othello?s love and attention, which seems a common theme throughout the play. During this soliloquy, Iago calls Othello by his name for the first time, there is a semantic field of love which is unusual as Iago?s language is usually hateful. He tends to use words such as, ?vile?, ?false?, ?foul? and ?uncleanly?. This change in syntax could be because Iago is beginning to accept his feelings, or that he has begun to have stronger feelings about Othello. There is also what seems like vows spoken between the two men such as, in 3.4 were Iago tells Othello ?I am your own forever.? Sex seems a focal point within Iago?s language and, according to Pauline Kiernan, all of Shakespeare?s works. Iago says of Cassio ?Yet again your fingers to your lips? Would they were clyster-pipes for your sake!? In this quote, Iago likens Cassio?s fingers at the opening of his mouth to ?clyster-pipes? used to inject liquid into the opening of the ?sake?, the bowel. These rectal images are continued, jokingly, with the sound of trumpets just after. ...read more.

Conclusion

A main theme in the play is Iago?s falseness, how he makes himself look honest and kind, but has cruel intentions and uses people?s trust in him against them. Shakespeare employs the device of dramatic irony, though the amount of times Iago is called ?Honest? by his fellow characters. This definitely confirms the idea that Iago is a villain as it shows the brutal way that he uses other people Shakespeare?s use of soliloquies in 1.2 and 3.1, undoubtedly establish Iago as a tragic villain. They reveal Iago?s inner most thoughts and feelings; whether they are the dehumanisation of others, a secret homosexual desire or an insight into his true views about people. He is revealed as a villain because of his Machiavellian approach to life. He uses subtle and contrived methods to achieve his goals, which would not have been evident without the soliloquies. Through this device, audience is able to see the marked contrast between his outward presentation which is that of a trustworthy amiable character and his true inner self which is dark, damaged and calculating. The soliloquies also show him to be a tragic figure because of the paranoid and delusional beliefs which he holds. One could question whether he is truly the embodiment of evil or just a damaged and broken individual, whose view of the world and others are distorted by madness. Anna Goldreich [1,306] ...read more.

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