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'For all that Iago is acting out of hatred, there is much for the audience to enjoy in his cleverness of his manipulation of Othello

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Introduction

'For all that Iago is acting out of hatred, there is much for the audience to enjoy in his cleverness of his manipulation of Othello". How do you respond to this idea? Iago has previously taken the audience into his confidence and we know what he is going to do. In Act 1 Scene 1, he uses animal imagery such as "For daws to peck at", "Barbary horse", and "an old black ram is tupping your white ewe"; and images of disease like "poison his delight" and "Plague him with flies". These images add depth and cruelty to what he says and provide amusement for the audience. He is telling Brabantio in the worst possible away about his daughter's relationship with Othello and he's bad mouthing Othello behind his back. This makes the audience feel sympathy for both Othello and Brabantio but the images are so obscene that they can be found funny. Iago relates to the audience by doing this, therefore getting them on his side early on in the play. In Act 1 Scene 2, Iago shows diversity in the way he speaks to different people and we see deeper into the real Iago; it is as though he is changing faces. The audience has previously seen him speaking to Roderigo with little respect and using cruel and racist comments towards Othello. ...read more.

Middle

In Act 2 Scene 3, Iago relates to the audience by talking about English people in a favourable way, "O sweet England", he reacts how people, including the audience, want him to. Shakespeare has done this so that the audience are involved and are provided with some comic relief from the seriousness and intrigue of the play. Also, so that the audience remember he is only human and are more likely to go along with him and feel that he isn't really doing anything wrong in making Cassio drunk, just having a good time. By thinking this way, the audience don't feel so guilty for admiring Iago's cleverness. Shortly after, Iago manipulates Othello when he is angry and wants to know what has been going on. He uses imagery of lovers, "like bride and groom devesting them for bed", to remind Othello of where he was and to make him resentful of the disturbance. This generalisation discreetly deceives Cassio and arouses Othello but makes himself look better. Iago then goes on to say that he would "rather this tongue cut from my mouth than it should do offence to Michael Cassio", to make it seen as though the information will have to be dragged from his mouth, the audience know this is a lie and Iago's calm tone makes Othello even angrier. Things are going exactly as Iago wants them to and at this point the audience can enjoy his plots coming to life ...read more.

Conclusion

This is one of the few scenes when Othello and Desdemona speak to each other, Iago is careful not to let them talk too often or too much because Desdemona would make Othello realise that he is wrong about Cassio. Instead dramatic tension is built up and the audience long to say something to the characters to release it and give the play a happy ending. Confusion is a main element of the play, for example Desdemona has no idea that Othello suspects her of being disloyal so she keeps on about Cassio and unknowing makes things worse instead of better. This causes frustration in the audience and they can feel annoyance with Iago for causing this pain. Othello is Iago's device in this play and Iago is asking the audience to approve of torturing a nice person by ruining his life. To a certain extent the audience follow him by admiration of his quick thinking and daring personality. However, by destroying innocent and na�ve people and splitting up lovers, the audience distance themselves from him. They can find comedy in some of the images he uses and in the irony of the play but there is no way they can agree with what he's doing. Feelings of sympathy are aroused towards characters that are unknowing caught up in evil goings on and are soon to be brought down. Othello is a nice person and the fact that Iago is ruining his life proves that it's not possible to stay on his side. Laura Bryce 12K ...read more.

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