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Explore the way the Shakespeare Dramatically Presents Iago.

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Introduction

Explore the way the Shakespeare Dramatically Presents Iago. In the play "Othello" Iago is seen as a malign metaphor for all that is obscured within the play. During the course of this essay I intend to investigate many aspects and viewpoints of Iago form both the perception of characters in the play and the audience. Because of the masked instinct of Iago as a person, the audience often just see his humorous and openly malevolent sides. I however believe there are many masked faces and complexities revealed by Shakespeare's dramatic presentation of Iago purely due to the fact that almost every line Shakespeare writes has an intention. The first glimpse that the audience get of Iago is of him in Venice. In many ways this connects what has made Iago how he is, the exact product of Venetian Society. The alleyway in which "Othello" starts reflects the obscured view of Iago and connects it with Iago's ironically "honest" persona. For example, the light/dark imagery of the scene suggests secrecy and obscured events, yet Iago proclaims his open honesty with the fact he will "wear his heart on his sleeve for daws to peck at". This quote shows us that Iago is so comfortable in his surroundings; he can allow this interpersonal intimacy yet has no vulnerability with it. ...read more.

Middle

It shows Iago recognises what is hidden within the human mind, but typical to the play he shows no recognition to another character that he himself is this. On another level it suggests a fear of Iago's, he understands intricately what provokes fear in Othello, an understanding that surely stems from his own fear that there really is nobody he can truly trust. The other side of the quote of course is the way Iago uses this to milk Othello's paranoia. Iago identifies Othello's insecurity about being an outsider and intimidates him with insights like this making Iago out to be the all-seeing insider. The repetition of the devilish vocabulary of "beast" and "monster" links throughout the play and dramatically instils the sense of foreboding and inevitable destruction in Iago's intentions. As shown above Iago knows how to control Othello, but the perception of Iago from other characters is also interesting. He uses each character's perception of him and the world to govern their emotions for his benefit. Firstly one of the most poignant of these is his wife Emilia. Highlighted to the audience is the fact that throughout the play she distrusts Iago, he knows this yet can still find ways to manipulate her. Emilia distrusts Iago because he shows no love or regard for her. ...read more.

Conclusion

The effect of the cliffhanger on the audience is that we want to take in more; we want more insight into this confusing and obscured situation. In his next soliloquy Shakespeare demonstrates the effective use of similes in unmasking the confusion of Iago's mind. When talking about his jealousy Iago says "Doth like a poisonous mineral gnaw my inwards", this shows the huge power of jealous on Iago and helps to explain perhaps why Iago knows exactly how to make Othello jealous. The use of "poisonous" emphasises the fact that jealousy is like a sickness in Iago's brain. This is again used later with the use of "burn like the mines of sulphur", another toxic poison, consuming those involved in Iago's plans. Another instant of jealousy is Iago's metaphorical reference to the "green eyed monster which doth/ mock the meat it feeds on", showing again a great understanding of the effects of jealousy on the human mind. The use of "mock" suggests hatred at the way jealousy makes Iago act and feel. The powerfulness mentioned before is echoed here with the use of "feeds"; Iago understands the consuming feeling now that he is immersed in his plans. Another light/dark image is used in Iago's third soliloquy, as he talks of his plans he declares "I will turn her virtue into pitch" contrasting the light, innocent idea of "virtue" with the black weight of the stone "pitch". In fact this soliloquy seems to act as Iago convincing himself of Desdemona's infidelity. ...read more.

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