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How does Iago use language to assert powers over others?

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How does Iago use language to assert power over others? "I am not what I am". Despite Iago's confession to Roderigo that he is not what he appears to be, this puppeteer of a character is still enabled to pull the strings of those around him, all the while preserving his reputation as the 'honest Iago'. This could be attributed to Iago's use of language as a persuasive, manipulative, emotional and rhetoric device. When attempting to rile up Brabantio, Iago uses bestial imagery such as 'a black ram is tupping your white ewe' and 'the Moor and your daughter are now making the beast with two backs'. This metaphor reflects the Elizabethan stereotype that a black man is power hungry, uncivilised, savage and a worthless outsider. In the period of time the play is set in, inter-racial marriages between black and white couples were unacceptable and Iago plays on this to enrage Brabantio. This animal references works not only work to craft Othello as an animalistic, violent, sexual being in Brabantio's eyes, but also to portray his daughter as innocent and pure with the use of the word 'white'. ...read more.


as every conclusion he jumps to is justified with Iago's repetition which allows Iago to be subtle and not draw attention to himself as the meddler. He uses rhetoric and short sentences such as 'honest, my lord?' to quicken the pace of their conversation which adds a sense of paranoia and edginess which unsettles Othello and again makes him question Cassio. This technique works so effectively as a way to assert power over others because it gives the perception that Othello has come to his conclusions about Cassio by himself, when in fact Iago has planted these ideas in his head. Iago uses implications in a similar manner to deposit thoughts into the minds of others. In Act 3, he remarks 'Ha, I like not that' but when asked to explain answers 'Nothing, my lord; or if - i know not what' which not only paints him as an honourable character to Othello but causes doubt as his reaction is never explained, making Othello curious. He also implies that Cassio is doing something wrong while saying the opposite in 'I cannot think it that he would steal away so guilty-like seeing you coming'. ...read more.


When Iago converses with characters with a higher status he reverts back to blank verse, a politer form. Iago uses this to make himself relatable, and therefore trustworthy to all of the other characters, allowing him to manipulate them further. This is important when he asks Roderigo to "be conjunctive in our revenge" as it makes Roderigo more likely to agree after they are seen to be equal. Roderigo asks "wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on the issue?" to which Iago replies "thou art sure of me". Another more obvious example of how Iago places words into other people's mouths as a tool to influence them. Iago's convincing rhetoric and language techniques clearly reveal what a powerful and dangerous tool language can be, especially when used by the eloquent, but deceitful, individual. He is obviously a well educated and intelligent character which makes his manipulation that much more well-placed and influential. Iago makes the catastrophic destruction he causes look like child's play as the language devices he uses are so simple yet effective. ...read more.

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