• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the ways in which Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello

    4 star(s)

    audience has a clear idea of how Iago's character really is, which is dishonest, disloyal and a liar; where as on the other hand all the characters in the play perceive Iago to be honest, loyal and noble. Desdemona does begin to petition Othello and tries to restore Cassio's reputation

  2. An Exploration of Imagery in Othello

    is unfaithful but his instincts still seem to be telling him that she is pure. In 'Othello', Shakespeare also uses imagery of the sea to convey to the audience the intensity of suffering experienced by the characters in the play.

  1. Free essay

    To what extent is Iago responsible for the downfall of other characters in Othello?

    As well as using imagery to appeal to Othello, Iago also uses it to intimidate him. According to (sparknotes.com?): Desperate to cling to the security of his former identity as a soldier while his current identity as a lover crumbles, Othello begins to confuse the one with the other.

  2. Explore the presentation of the relationship between Othello and Iago

    As F.R Leavis said, 'the essential traitor lies within the gates," and this is very much the case with Othello. He chose to believe Iago over his wife, Cassio and Emilia. Iago is just the catalyst in the experiment, whereas Othello is the potion.

  1. Examine how Shakespeare presents power in the play with particular reference to Act 3, ...

    on the chain of the family's wealth where as Desdemona chooses Othello who is an army general where he does not have a lot of money, only some prestige. In addition, he is old; he was also Brabantio's friend. The thought that could have ran through Brabantio's head would have

  2. Explain how you think Act 3 affects the audience(TM)s feelings about Othello.

    This theme immerses most of the play; consequently resulting in its tragic nature. Iago is the antagonist and he relishes in the pain he causes. In Act three, scene three he quotes: " Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisions Which at the first are scarce found to distaste But

  1. Examine the friendship between Othello and Iago and how it links to the downfall ...

    The play was written in the course of Shakespeare?s great tragic era, during this time he also had composed other famous plays, some of the likes of; Hamlet (1600), King Lear (1604-5) as well as the renowned Macbeth (1606). The contextual background of Othello is set in the later fragment

  2. Othello and Desdemonas love at the beginning of the play is built on mutual ...

    Though at the sight of her he rallies ?If she be false, O! Then heaven mocks itself. I?ll not believe?t.?[III.iii. 278], but he later shows he hasn?t recovered, and the possibility of Desdemona?s infidelity has already invaded his mind. Whilst Iago?s evil undoubtedly corrupts Othello and leads to the murder

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work