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Analyse the methods Iago uses to bring about Othello's downfall. On what kind of weaknesses does he prey to control Othello. Focus particularly on Act3 scene 3.

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Introduction

Analyse the methods Iago uses to bring about Othello's downfall. On what kind of weaknesses does he prey to control Othello. Focus particularly on Act3 scene 3. Act 3 scene 3 is described as the pivotal point of Shakespeare's Othello; before this scene Othello is at peace of mind and content with his life. He is the Moor and very successful at his job. He recently married Desdemona daughter of a white senator Brabantio. Desdemona secretly married Othello, as her father would disapprove of her marrying a black person; so she has been disloyal to her father and family. Iago Othello's Ancient secretly loathes Othello and vows to bring him down, but Othello completely trusts Iago and believes that he is a very honest man. Iago also hates Cassio who is Othello's lieutenant. He uses the kind loving, trusting and loving natures of these main characters to try and get what he wants. He manipulates every word that is said and twists it to create a rift between the other characters. He feeds these lies to Othello and uses his jealousy and undying love for Desdemona to bring about Othello's downfall. During act 3 scene 3 Iago begins his plan to ruin Othello. He starts to question Desdemona and Cassio's relationship by example of her being deceitful to her father when she married Othello. This starts the ball rolling and from this moment forth Othello's character changes and heads for a downwards spiral. His confident, emotive and descriptive character changes to an insecure, violent and chaotic character. Iago uses many language techniques to control Othello. His weakness is Desdemona and he makes false accusations and questions to prey on Othello's mind, causing him to doubt his relationship, Desdemona and himself. During the opening of act 3 scene 3 the true nature of Desdemona and Cassio's relationship is revealed. Othello has just sacked Cassio as he was drunk and fighting with fellow colleague Montano, when he should have been on duty. ...read more.

Middle

Causing Othello to question the validity of his relationship as he views her as better then himself; not equal. So all the time these thoughts are affecting his state of mind. 'The moor already changes with my poison...' This whole section of the scene shows the methods Iago uses to victimise Othello through his weaknesses, and how easily Iago can twist and influence his mind. Showing Othello's character may not be as strong as we thought it was; there are chinks in the armour. Othello's soliloquy, which would be spoken entirely to the audience, allows Shakespeare to reveal Othello's hidden worries and thoughts. He has started to adapt Iago's language as he starts to use animal imagery '... prove her haggard...' 'Her jesses were my dear heart - strings', the bonds that tie their marriage and his heart will hurt and become under strain if Desdemona tries to leave him. The analogy he uses of Desdemona and the hawk, is how Othello associates Desdemona's character to this beautiful bird of prey. This soliloquy shows that Othello has made up his mind about Desdemona and he is utterly convinced with no proof but the word of Iago that Desdemona is 'false.' He then puts himself down thinking that it has fault that Desdemona has gone astray 'Haply, for I am black and have not those soft parts of conversion that chamberers have...' Segregating himself by race and status, which is another weakness of Othello, as he knows that he is different form his friends and in allowing himself to justify reasons for Desdemona's unfaithfulness he is providing Iago with the knowledge to control him. He then realises in his mind that if he cannot love her with this knowledge then the only way to release his mind is to hate her 'She's gone: I am abused, and my relief must be to loathe her.' Though Iago's animal imagery refers to sexual images 'now making the beast with two backs' the mood of Othello slowly declines and so too his language. ...read more.

Conclusion

Iago uses his gift of language to influence Othello and bring about his downfall; he preys on Othello's weaknesses. He is able to identify quickly as he spends so much time with him. Othello's weaknesses are his love for Desdemona, his doubts about their relationship in how could such a beautiful, white and lady marry and old, black moor. He starts to see his relationship as something wrong as Iago feeds him lies and believes that they are two completely different people and therefore shouldn't be together. Othello who comes across as a very strong character of mind and body at the start of the play is manipulated and broken down by Iago mentally throughout the play. Othello's fault was he trusted his friendship too much and lost his own opinion and state of mind and started relying on the word of 'honest, honest Iago.' However Iago's strengths aren't physical they are of mind. He is highly intellectual and his language is his power. He is able to deceit so many people by conjuring up so many lies and careful plans that he perceived by them to be a man of his word. He uses jealousy to bring Othello down along with Cassio. He plays both of them for fools as they could not see past is cool, calm and collected exterior and see him for who he really is, which in my opinion he is a lying, cheating and a cowardly character. Iago is able to identify weaknesses in Othello's character; he knows that Othello is insecure about his race, age, culture and position within society. He plays on these weaknesses and the main area for Othello's thinking is Desdemona, which Iago is able to and use. Jealousy is the key theme that runs through this play as Iago starts his plan to bring down Othello because of his issue with race and the fact that Cassio has been promoted over him, and it is the exact same thing that causes Othello to kill Desdemona and himself. 'O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster...' Amareen Bhambra 11B p1 ...read more.

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