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Explore how Shakespeare Conveys the Charcter of Iago

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Explore how Shakespeare Conveys the Character of Iago to the Audience In the early 1600's the view of a black man was radically different to peoples views now. So the play and its plot of a black man marrying a white girl from a high-class family would have been very shocking and implausible. A large number of people at the time would have had similar views as Iago's, so this essay is exploring how Shakespeare conveys the character of Iago to the audience. Through out the play Shakespeare uses dramatic irony he does this by making it blatantly obvious to the audience that Iago is the villain, where as Shakespeare has all of the other characters think that Iago is honest. It is made obvious to the audience in many ways. Right from the opening scene, where the audience finds out how bitter he is. In his first soliloquy Shakespeare shows how he despises Othello for giving Cassio a promotion and not him. In this soliloquy Shakespeare makes him tell the audience how he is going to tell Othello and make it look like Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona. We also find out that he doesn't care for Rodrigo, he is just using him for money and to do his dirty work. The reason he wants to destroy Othello is because he gave Cassio a promotion, who is younger than Iago, but Iago felt he should have got the promotion as he is older than Cassio and therefore more experienced. The fact that Shakespeare makes Cassio younger than Iago makes it much worse and harder for Iago to handle. Iago then starts to put his plan into action, starting by getting Cassio fired for fighting with Rodrigo. Shakespeare then makes Iago raise Othello's suspicion about Casio having an affair with Desdemona. While all the time Iago plays innocent but still indirectly suggesting that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona. ...read more.


Othello is different to other Shakespeare plays because it brings up the issue of whether the play is racist or not. I believe that the play is racist. I think that the main character Othello is very stereotyped. He is a black man who has done very well in the army since he was a very good solider so he has been promoted. This trait of his, contributes to him being a stereotype. Also he is portrayed to have a very short temper, a big sense of pride and very gullible. Because of these things I believe that Shakespeare has used a stereotype for his main character. But what we have to consider is that at the time this was the common thought of most people in England. So it wouldn't have been seen to be wrong. But now people are more educated we know that it isn't fair to stereotype, as everyone is different. I think for the fact that we are reading the play at a different time when it was written the play seems to be out of context due to this it comes across as a slightly racist play. Since Othello was intended to be a play, it is only appropriate that it be looked as a piece of drama to get a true representation of what Shakespeare intended when he wrote the play. The part of the play that I am concentrating on is the same part that I have already analysed. As it is a soliloquy it can be done in two ways. Either he is talking to himself and unaware of the audience, or he could be talking to the audience directly. I think Shakespeare intended Iago to be talking directly to the audience as he opens as if he has read the audiences mind and questions how he is a villain. So it seems to me that Shakespeare creates a little bit of banter between the audience and Iago. ...read more.


The reason he is bitter is due to his supposed motives, that Cassio got a promotion and he felt that he deserved it. Also he suspects Othello had slept with his wife. He is sly because he reveals lots of incriminating evidence such as he is only using Rodrigo for his money and all his plans to destroy Othello and Cassio. Also in his soliloquies he reveals his racist side as he uses derogative comments towards Othello such as: "thick-lips", "the Moore", "the old black ram", "devil" and many more. What is also revealed in his soliloquies when he reveals his plans is that he only thinks of himself. He is conveyed like this as he doesn't take in account how his actions will effect everyone as he doesn't really care as long as he achieves what he intended to, its fine by him if someone gets hurt and they are innocent. An example is that he appeals to Rodrigo by appealing to his attraction towards Desdemona and then using him for his money and making him do all his dirty work. Also he makes his Amelia get the handkerchief for him. In Iago's soliloquies get a true insight to what his character is, which is manipulative, sly, bitter, immoral and evil. Overall Shakespeare uses a number of different ways to convey Iago's character. But all give the same answers when put into context. Iago is a character that is very complex and clever, probably one Shakespeare's most complex and clever villains, because of this he intrigues the reader. It seems that he has the ability to say the right thing at the right time, which gives him control of the situation, therefore granting him power, something most people desire. His motives seem questionably and yet he is intent to carry out his evils deeds. He seems to have the same racist ideas as the public at the time. Although I can explore how Iago is conveyed, I think that I will never be able to understand such a complex villain. Ricky Dhaliwal - 1 - ...read more.

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