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Explore and describe the devices and techniques used by Iago to ensnare Othello in Act 3,Scene 3 of Othello

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Introduction

Year 10 Coursework Essay 'Othello' Explore and describe the devices and techniques used by Iago to ensnare Othello in Act 3, Scene 3 of Othello Act 3, scene 3 in the Shakespearean tragedy Othello: The Moor of Venice is the pivotal scene; Iago poisons Othello's mind as the Moor finally surrenders to Iago's false allegations of the lustful Desdemona and cassio having an affair, which leads to his ultimate downfall. In this scene love becomes hate and honour turns to betrayal. Othello is consumed by hate and suspicion, his love for Desdemona decays throughout the scene due to Iago's treacherous lies. Later on in this scene Othello is portrayed as a heinous villain due to his irrational and merciless opinion of Desdemona. Elizabethan attitudes are seen throughout the play, and it is a major theme. Basic Western iconography states that white signifies purity and black signifies evil. But this concept is repeatedly challenged throughout the tragedy. For example the name Bianca (Cassio's black mistress) means 'white' in Italian, meaning Bianca is pure though Iago states that she is but a mere " housewife, that by selling her desires buys herself bread and clothes", Bianca and Desdemona both deny that they are 'strumpets' and the audience realize that the only evidence for them being whores of course, comes from the mouth of Iago. ...read more.

Middle

Iago mentions this occasionally "Our country of disposition" meaning women should behave appropriately and not commit adultery. The audience then (Elizabethans) would find it perfectly acceptable if a man did this. This is mentioned by Emilia in Act 4, scene 3. "What is it they do, When they change us for others? Is it for sport? I think it is". This is very humorous as her husband is deploying deceitful acts. This may mean Shakespeare had a more sympathetic side towards women (feminist) as he shows their thoughts and feelings as well as men. "And have we not affections, Desires for sport, and frailty, as men have?" Shakespeare's manipulation of language is very clever. Iago uses metaphors in order to compare his thoughts and feelings with bad connotations "It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on" Here Iago is describing the emotion of jealousy. The monster relates to Othello and he implies that he is a beast and the meat relates to the past stories of Othello and cannibalism (this also adds to him being compared with a monster). The word 'mock' means to annoy, but here it means torture. This relates to how Iago is torturing Othello mentally by making false accusations about his fair wife and Cassio. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another source of conflict in Elizabethan society was that of catholic versus protestant which ultimately led to the downfall of Charles I. Did Shakespeare envisage this possibility in Othello, in the way that the leader is given bad and malicious advice by juniors which will ultimately lead to the downfall of the leader? Women are given a subordinate role in Othello whilst strong characters, they are used in development of the relationship of Iago and Othello. This was the case in Elizabethan society, even all the parts in the play would be played by men and boys not women, and yet Shakespeare questions their subordination. As we have seen in the words of Emilia in Act 4, Scene 3 she asks; if it is considered alright for men to have lovers is it not the right of women to do have them also. Having had a queen leading the nation so recently were values being questioned and perhaps women knew their value whatever the mainstream ideas may have been. Given that Shakespeare's audience was entirely white and in a male dominated society we can see a slightly subversive message to the play. Othello is the tragic hero a good person deceived by the callous aristocratic white Venetian. Whilst the women who are good and virtuous are cruelly let down by their husbands, leading Emilia to question the dominant role of the alpha male. ...read more.

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