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"Iago's soliloquies are embarrassing and outdated. They add little to the play." "It is through Iago's soliloquies that the audience gain most insight and enjoyment" - How far do you agree with these views and what is your opinion?

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Introduction

"Iago's soliloquies are embarrassing and outdated. They add little to the play." "It is through Iago's soliloquies that the audience gain most insight and enjoyment" How far do you agree with these views and what is your opinion? Iago's soliloquies feature throughout the play Othello and allow the audience to see the true feelings he has for other characters and his motives for his evil actions throughout the play. These two critical opinions show contrasting views of the value these soliloquies have to the audience and to the play itself. When Shakespeare wrote Othello, actors on the stage would often interact with the audience and involve them within the play. Soliloquies were an opportunity for an actor in his role to explain his motives and way of thinking to the audience. This is shown when Iago asks 'and what's he then that says I play the villain?' directly asking the audience to question their opinion of him or become accomplices of his evil plan. To a modern audience this interaction with the actors is rare and outdated so to many Iago's soliloquies just appear to be a man speaking to himself on stage. This can be embarrassing for the modern audience and also the actor playing Iago who has to deliver the lines convincingly. ...read more.

Middle

It is through his soliloquies that we see how his mind works and how he abuses people's good nature in order to ruin them. The soliloquies allow us to see into Iago's mind, which allows the audience to gain great insight into what he is doing. In Act 1 Scene 1 his first soliloquy reveals a great deal of his opinions of other people and it is though Iago is taking off a mask, suddenly revealing a darker side than we have seen so far. The audience see his true opinion of Roderigo as being a 'fool' who he is only associating with for 'sport and profit' and that he is impatient with his idiotic and defeatist talk. He also reveals his reason for bringing about the downfall of Othello is due to rumours he has heard of Othello sleeping with Emilia, which he continues to mention in other soliloquies, claiming 'the lusty moor hath leaped into [his] seat' in Act 2 Scene 1. Other than this motive, which is possibly a lie in order to justify his evil nature, his other motives are selfish and unfair. Iago intends to ruin Cassio in order to 'get his place' and later reveals a jealousy for Desdemona. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, it can also be refreshing for an audience to experience this different way of acting and enjoyable to be involved in Iago's plot. As a modern audience we should understand that the play was written in a society that was different from today and therefore be less judgemental on how outdated it is. The critic's view that they 'add little to the play' is, in my opinion less justified. The soliloquies may not be essential to the actual plot of the play but they provide a great by giving the audience an opportunity to understand Iago's character. As an audience we can foreshadow the upcoming events in the play and therefore be more interested as it all unravels. An audience will feel more hatred towards Iago due to his soliloquies and therefore feel more sympathy for the other characters as he causes their downfall. Instead of providing little to the play, they provide a great deal by stirring up the audiences emotions to the characters. Overall, I believe Iago's soliloquies to be of great insight and enjoyment to the audience as they allow an audience to see into his mind and be aware of his plot to bring Othello's downfall. Instead of being outdated and embarrassing they are insightful and enjoyable as audiences can directly witness his harsh and wicked nature. ...read more.

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