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How does Iago poison Othello's mind in Act 3?

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Introduction

Othello is a character whom from the start, we do not see any flaws within, or within Desdemona's and his marriage. However, the name 'Iago' is synonymous with villainy and evil. He is without much doubt on of Shakespeare's most popular antagonists, but the question remains as to what actually motivates Iago to betray Othello so and make him 'hate the moor!'? It may be because he believes the "lusty Moor hath leap'd into my seat', out of insecurity within his own marriage, or it could perhaps be ambition about the ignited rage he felt when Cassio was promoted, however, if this is true, then Othello's downfall is merely a side effect. This therefore leads the reader to believe it is a reason such as those exaggerated and created within his soliloquy's, one which is more complicated than such, as the deliberate poisoning of Othello's mind is evident. Iago poisons Othello's mind in a number of ways; firstly through the carefully selected narrative order of his building of the guise of friendship. It seems to be coincidental that all of these events happen within the play and that Iago is present, such as the closeness in relationship and timings of the seemingly adultery moments between Cassio and Desdemona, with Iago to whisper "pestilence" into Othello's ear. ...read more.

Middle

his indirect, reluctant manner beforehand which he then relates to at the end of the story to then build up the facade of "honest Iago". This imagery is one of the strongest within the scene, as it places Iago in Desdemona's position, making it all seem so much more real. The homosexuality feel to the scene also brings even more disgust to Othello. Strong language also comes from this speech, such as "O sweet creature!" "lay his leg o'er my thigh, and sigh, and kiss". The creature portrays Desdemona as a creature of the Earth, with the contrast of Othello perceiving her as the devil instead of the pure woman that she actually is. The images that Othello understands from Iago explaining Cassio's dream brings on the "green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on", this being actually exactly which Iago does by bringing on this emotion from the language that he uses, not knowing he actually referenced himself through his own jealousy of happiness. That which poisons Othello's mind on top of this is the reluctance that Iago shows when talking of Cassio or Desdemona and his thoughts and apparent knowledge, giving the facade he does not want to upset anyone as he is "honest", and ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, phrases such as "black vengeance, from hollow hell" and references to the Black Sea later suggest racial undertones, however they are perceived by Othello as the grime and dirt of adultery that has been committed against him. The comment that Iago passes "let her live" brings about the thought of killing her, which they have not discussed beforehand, where more examples are found earlier in the scene, such as the referral to the "cuckold." The imagery and language Iago uses within Act 3 are symbolic of those which make Othello believe more than beforehand, but are however very vague, perhaps so that the Moor can deduce the meanings himself through his running mind. In scene 3, Iago says "were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys, as salt as wolves in pride". This conception of Cassio as an animalistic male produces in Othello's mind a hideous vision of a bestial world inhabited by such vile creatures, and the world in which he did exist with elements of innocence and beauty slowly degrades with speech. Othello later responds to this comment seemingly later in the scene, "for 'tis of aspics' tongues!" displays the venom which has been ultimately been injected into Othello's life unwillingly, that which is so painful he cannot bear to see sense. ...read more.

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