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How does Shakespeare reveal Iago's villainy throughout 'Othello'?

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How does Shakespeare reveal Iago's villainy throughout 'Othello'? Othello is considered a typical Shakespeare tragedy because of the elements that make up a Shakespearean tragedy are included within Othello. These elements include the presence of supernatural elements or madness, a tragic hero of a high social status and a new order moving in after the old one is thrown down. It also includes the element of chance, the tragic hero has a fatal flaw that brings about the downfall and most of the main characters, apart from the new order, die at the end of the play. These are the traditional elements to a Shakespearean revenge tragedy although these aren't the only type of tragedies in literary history. Tragedy is one of the oldest genres in literature and originated from as early as the Greek times, carrying through to Roman times where it was also popular. One of the first people to consider tragedy and its elements was Aristotle, a Greek author and philosopher. Another famous early tragedy author was Seneca. The Elizabethans thought the genre to be good and they based their tragedies on Seneca's works. ...read more.


This gives the audience a negative impression of Iago and this then automatically identifies him as the villain at this early stage but it also gives a negative impression on Othello, known only as the 'Moor' at this stage because of way he is talked about by Roderigo and Iago. "What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe" and "But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them with a bombast circumstance Horribly stuffed with the epithets of war." Shakespeare reveals Iago as the villain as soon as he's introduced so that he can give his motives for what he commits and does later so that the audience knows what's happening and why he is doing the acts he is. Here is a quote from 1:1:94, "Most revered Signor do you know my voice?" This shows Roderigo being respectful to Brebantio before he says that in comparison because they cannot be seen by him he asks if he knows who it is. Only Roderigo is known to Brebantio which means that Iago can weave his web of evil around Brebantio about Othello and Desdemona. ...read more.


During Act 3 Scene 3 Shakespeare reveals Iago's villainy by the language he uses throughout the scene. In this his language changes from friendly chat to poison, telling Othello about Desdemona and Cassio's supposed affair and with it, Iago manages to convince Othello about this. Before this he builds up with little comments such as "Ha! I like not that." in Act Scene, which refers to Cassio innocently pleading with Desdemona for his lieutenancy returned to him. Othello thinks nothing of it until Iago talks about them being together often when Othello turns from a jolly friend to a worrying husband in Act 3 Scene3. This signifies the power change that occurs in this scene when Iago was a loyal servant with his superior to an evil, back-stabbing friend telling 'what he thinks'. Of course the audience knows what Iago 'thinks' may be what he thinks but are essentially lies. We know this by Shakespeare letting Iago tell the audience in a soliloquy his motives and feelings so we know that he is lying and his advice is nothing more than lies, this is called dramatic irony and Shakespeare uses this language technique to reveal Iago's villainy. ...read more.

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