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Analyse the dramatic effect of the devices Iago uses in Act III Scene 3 to convince Othello of his wife’s infidelity. Who is to blame for the tragedy?

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Introduction

Amy Grammer Analyse the dramatic effect of the devices Iago uses in Act III Scene 3 to convince Othello of his wife's infidelity. Who is to blame for the tragedy? Shakespeare's tragedies of this kind are all based around the idea of the downfall of a hero whom the audience has had a chance to relate to. Othello is indeed heroic at the beginning of this play but would have been different in a major way from the ill-fated Hamlet or Macbeth to the Elizabethan audience. He was black. His was a race that was generally portrayed as inferior or evil in Elizabethan theatre and yet here was a Moor playing the hero, a well educated, dignified hero at that. But can a black man, however comfortably he seems to fit into society ever truly feel secure in a world dominated by white people? Will he always feel like an outsider? He is exploited by the virulent Iago who cleverly manipulates him in to believing he has been "cuckolded" and drives him to homicide and then suicide through the use of dramatic devices. In this essay I shall look at how Iago manages to convince Othello of his wife's infidelity in the pivotal scene of Act III Scene3. I will also consider who is to blame for the tragedy. Although it is easy to hate Iago and attach all the blame to him putting the other supposedly "good" characters on a pedestal I hold every important character in the plot at fault. It is only through other characters flaws/qualities (depending on whose viewpoint you take) that Iago is able to achieve his means. Dramatic devices are techniques/language used to create tension for the audience and usually have a purpose within the play, in the case of those I shall be examining Iago uses them to make Othello believe his wife has been unfaithful. ...read more.

Middle

Iago leaves it to Othello's imagination what that something which would steal his reputation is. Convinced his perfection is threatened Othello is bewildered. This thus infuriates Othello and makes him more and more curious to what Iago is hiding from him. Loaded words are those that have more than one meaning, depending on which way you interpret them. To Othello, already doubting Desdemona and Cassio, the most innocent, casual comment from Iago can be misconstrued to mean something dark and sinister which may seem to confirm his suspicions. The seemingly straightforward tribute to Cassio's honesty "I dare be sworn I think that he is honest" is anything but straightforward to Othello's aroused imagination. Why didn't Iago say, "I dare be sworn he is honest"? Oh no he puts the word "think" in his statement. With think there is room for doubt. Iago seems to be hinting at something. It's passive construction and roundabout phrasing draw Othello's attention to it and suggest there is something more to it, especially after Iago has been pouring evil thoughts into Othello's ear. Iago then says, "Men should be what they seem or those that be not, would they might seem none". This can be interpreted as those who are not true men, if only they would display their actual monstrous natures by not seeming to be true. Of course Othello will automatically think this applies to Cassio who they had previously been talking about. He might seem this to confirm his previous scepticism over Iago's strange statement. After all it does seem to insinuate that. Of course these words are loaded not only for Othello but also for the audience who will apply this to Iago himself. They should shake with rage at the audacity of this malevolent creature and be frustrated that they may not help Othello see the truth. I mentioned earlier that Brabantio's warning would come to feature in this scene and it is now Iago introduces it. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is then drawn into a fight not thinking once about his responsibilities as Lieutenant. He doesn't think for himself and abides by Iago's advice that he must go through Desdemona without question and without thinking about how it will look to Othello. I find it hard to blame Desdemona because of her purity and innocence but I must. She doesn't think about how the words she chooses to plead Cassio's case might be interpreted by Othello. In her ploy to do well she does irreversible damage, she says herself "his bed shall seem a school, his boord a shrift I'll intermingle everything he does with Cassio's suit". Isn't this going a little overboard? She doesn't think of herself and how it might affect her. Roderigo, of course, is a very easy character to blame. If any of the characters have seen Iago's true nature, Roderigo has. But does he stop to do anything about it? No way. He is blinded by his love for Desdemona and will do anything to gain her love. Here is yet another character that doesn't think his actions through but is determined to reach their goal. We can also blame Brabantio for arousing Othello's suspicions of Desdemona before Iago did. He made Othello feel inferior and then added to his intrinsic weakness when he complained of Othello and Desdemona's marriage thus making him more susceptible to Iago's lies later on. Othello is a play written to be performed not studied and over-analysed. Shakespeare wrote all his plays with the intention of seeing them on stage so he had to make them as interesting as possible to the audience. He does this through dramatic devices. It is devices that allow an audience to escape from their everyday lives and momentarily become entangled in the play; the characters have a personality, emotions that an audience can relate to. The play seems believable, although it might actually happen. It is a device, which makes an audience surrender to the beauty of the language and the intricate of Shakespeare's plays. ...read more.

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