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How does the presentation of Iago in Act1 sn1 lines 41-66 and Act1 sn3 lines 365-385 prepare the audience for the tragedy of Othello?

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Introduction

How does the presentation of Iago in Act1 sn1 lines 41-66 and Act1 sn3 lines 365-385 prepare the audience for the tragedy of Othello? The two passages in question, the first a speech Iago makes at the start of the play, and the second, a short soliloquy at the end of Act one, introduce the audience to the character of Iago and the feelings he has towards Othello which will drive the action of the play and shape the tragedy. In the play, we see Othello, a heroic character, fall from grace. Shakespeare's successful use of peripeteia is accentuated by Othello's strive through adversity and what he has managed to achieve, especially in Venice which was the most powerful society in the world for a time. It was un-heard of for a "moor" to have reached such a momentous position considering the racism at this point in history. Othello is also a character that the audience can empathize with easily. This emphasizes the tragedy of Othello due to the fact that he doesn't deserve to have been plagued by trickery resulting in him murdering Desdemona and then killing himself. He has been entirely manipulated by Iago. He is the artist behind the fall of Othello. He realizes that Othello can be "tenderly led by the nose as asses are" and is clever and ruthless enough to take advantage of him and exploit his flaw, jealousy. ...read more.

Middle

His use of emjambement here suggests that the audience should hear the statement all as one. There is no pause between " sleeve" and "for daws.....". In addition, the fact that Iago doesn't care that he is leaving his feelings so vulnerable makes us think that he has no care for his emotions and anyone else's whatsoever. It is also ironic because he is saying he will reveal his feelings, his emotions and his true self, but succeeds in manipulating all of the characters due to his immense power to lie, deceive and erect an impregnable fa�ade. Shakespeare alludes to themes such as race and class in the last sentence of the first speech that also portray Iago's deceitful character. Iago ends his speech to Roderigo by saying "I am not what I am." We have already learned that he is a deceptive and confusing character however this statement means that he could have been putting up a fa�ade this whole time and none of what he said could be true. As and audience, we feel that Shakespeare has employed this dramatic device to keep us guessing. Moreover, this is interesting because we would usually expect Iago to reveal this about his character in a soliloquy rather than in conversation with another character. Shakespeare has most definitely chosen this short punchy sentence to end his speech for a reason. ...read more.

Conclusion

Specifically, the contrasting notions of heaven vs hell, light vs dark and good vs evil. In conclusion, we can see that both speeches play key roles in preparing the audience for the tragedy of Othello. The first speech reveals much about Iago's character including his manipulative and exploitative nature. It is revealed to the audience that Iago is complex and intelligent but that these traits are ominous ones. Iago is portrayed in such a negative way that it leaves the audience thinking that there could only be a negative ending to the play. The assumption is that evil will prevail. However at this point in the play we have not met Othello. We are not sure whether what Imago is saying about Othello is true which means that the audience are ill prepared at this point for the tragedy of Othello. In Iago's soliloquy he begins to engineer his plan to defeat Othello. At this point we have met Othello and we are aware of his trusting nature that becomes his downfall at the end of the play. Shakespeare uses a combination of structural techniques, language and themes to help the audience prepare for the tragedy that follows. I believe that Shakespeare was attempting an attack on the ideals and beliefs in society at the time and was trying to tell the worlds that fairytales do not usually come true and that humans will ultimately be the makers of their own downfall. ...read more.

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