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Analyze the way in which Iago convinces Othello of the guilt of his wife in Act 3, scene3.

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Introduction

ANALYZE THE WAY IN WHICH IAGO CONVINCES OTHELLO OF THE GUILT OF HIS WIFE IN ACT 3, SCENE 3 Act 3, Scene 3 is a pivotal moment in the play - Iago, playing on Othello's insecurities about Desdomona, gets him to believe through cunning insinuation and accusation that she is having an affair with Cassio. The way in which he does this merits attention because of the way he uses his relationship with Othello to misplace his trust and draws him in to what are in reality nothing but unfounded accusations. The start of the scene sees Desdomona reconciling Cassio and assuring him she will do everything she can to make her husband reinstate him to his former position - "I'll watch him tame and talk him out of patience, his bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift." (3.3.34). Paradoxically, it is this determination to set everything right that fuels Othello's jealousy which will eventually be the cause of her death. ...read more.

Middle

He then begins to echo Othello's words, setting him even more ill at ease. He questions, although seemingly harmless, are actually fundamentally relevant to the issues at hand. As Iago draws Othello in more and more, he makes him believe that his statements are to hide a truth that he does not want his general to see whereas in reality they are all feigned to make Othello jealous and get him to start questioning Desdemona himself. Othello himself says "Thou echo'st me as if there were some monster in thy thought too hideous to be shown" (3.3.109), showing how Othello is starting to be led by the insinuations in Iago's words - even though up to this point Iago has cleverly made no indication that there is no "monster" - he has asked harmless questions. He then moves on to what he thinks of Cassio. He regards him as honest - "I dare to be sworn, I think, that he is honest" (3.3.127) - but Iago's deliberate feigned tone of uncertainty sets Othello off again in thinking that he knows more than telling. ...read more.

Conclusion

(3.3.209). The most important aspect of this scene then becomes the proof which Othello demands of Iago of the alleged affair - he demands that he provides "ocular" proof as evidence of her guilt. Iago, once again clever improvising, subverts Othello's wish for "ocular proof" by making him see that this would mean catching them in the act, which would, he implies, be painful for Othello to witness - "Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on? Behold her topped?" (3.3.398). As a now distraught Othello realizes this, Iago digs deeper, relating the tale of how Cassio talks in his sleep. The detail in which he describes Cassio's actions makes them all to vivid for Othello to dismiss - indeed he works himself up into such a state that he now take Iago's tale as a piece of true evidence against Desdemona! By the end of the scene, it is clear that Iago has achieved his aims - blinded by anger and rage, Othello abandons his need to find proof of his wife's actions, instead just taking Iago's mere speculations and observations as all the proof he needs. ...read more.

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