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In Act III Scene III, what techniques and dramatic devices are used by Shakespeare to show Iago's successful manipulation of Othello? How does Shakespeare show the Moors gradual succumbing to the spell Iago is casting?

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Introduction

"The Moor already changes with my poison, Dangerous conceits are in their nature's poisons." In Act III Scene III, what techniques and dramatic devices are used by Shakespeare to show Iago's successful manipulation of Othello? How does Shakespeare show the Moors gradual succumbing to the spell Iago is casting? Othello is a powerful, strong-minded, proud, warrior, who unfortunately sees things in 'black and white'. He truly loves his wife and is convinced of her honesty and faithfulness to him. However, Iago's insinuations of his wife's adultery soon transform Othello into a man driven by insanity and jealousy. Iago words act as poison to Othello and change him into the person he becomes "The Moor already changes with my poison/Dangerous conceits are in their nature's poisons". Iago has successfully destroyed Othello's mind by the end of the scene. Desdemona's persuasive methods in the beginning of the scene are very different to Iago's methods; she speaks without hesitation and is demanding. Her motives are genuine and honest as she's confident of her love for Othello and his love for her. Desdemona is energetic and childish in her persuasion of trying to make Othello speak to Cassio, she is seductive and playful but at the same time there is a note of urgency and also a whining tone to her voice. She nags him constantly "Why then tomorrow night, or Tuesday morn/On Tuesday noon or night, on Wednesday morn;" Desdemona is persistent to the point of nagging about Cassio and Iago later uses this against her. Shakespeare shows us Desdemona's persuasion methods so we can see the way in which she has power over Othello, but also so we can compare her to Iago. In the beginning of the scene Shakespeare uses dramatic irony to show how other characters perceive Iago at the moment. When Cassio, Desdemona and Emilia are alone, Emilia expresses her husbands concern for Cassio and Desdemona refers to Iago as "O, that's an honest fellow". ...read more.

Middle

Othello doubts his age, race and bed-side manner, in a way he compares himself to Cassio who is unlike Othello - young, white and knows how to talk i.e. to women. At the same time he degraded himself. Othello think that he's the way he is because he's a soldier - rough, uncivilized and violent. Othello tells the audience that he considers Desdemona a possession and that someone else is using her based on Iago's false accusations and what he'd rather be "I had rather be a toad/And live upon the vapour of a dungeon/Than keep a corner in the thing I love/For others uses". Othello also shows his vanity in this soliloquy "Yet tis the plague of great ones/Prerogratived are they less than base". At the moment Othello won't accept that he is to blame. At this point Desdemona returns with Emilia and Othello says "If she be false, o then heaven mocks itself". Othello considers Desdemona heaven and if she is false then heaven is a mockery. This soliloquy reveals how Iago has successfully manipulated Othello. When Desdemona returns the tension is unbearable because of dramatic irony. Desdemona thinks that Othello is unwell and offers him her handkerchief. The handkerchief is dropped and left here Shakespeare show a good use of props. The handkerchief is a loaded item and a dramatic device which is symbolic of Othello and Desdemona's love which Iago takes, twists and destroys. The fact that the handkerchief was dropped is lucky for Iago as he needs circumstantial evidence to show Othello of Desdemona's adultery. The handkerchief works so well as it was gift from Othello to Desdemona and Desdemona has never been without it until now. Emilia is left alone and picks the handkerchief up. Emilia's soliloquy has one importance, to move the play along. However, it shows how weak willed and easily manipulated Emilia is. It allows the audience to know the importance of the handkerchief to Iago, they catch on once Emilia tells them "My wayward husband hath a hundred times/Wooed me to steal it". ...read more.

Conclusion

Othello orders Cassio death " Within these three days let me hear thee say/That Cassio's not alive". Iago agrees and says that it is as good as done, he ask for Desdemona to be kept alive, however Othello refuses "I will withdraw/To furnish me with some swift means of death/For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant". Othello is going to find a quick and easy way to kill Desdemona. Iago has now been given the position he wanted which was Cassio's. Iago's response to this is "I am your own forever." This last line and Othello's earlier line ("I greet thy love") are things that lovers says to each other. They are so sickeningly effective as it is as though Iago has replaced Desdemona in this marriage. These last few lines show the audience that the deaths of both Cassio and Desdemona are secure. Othello in Act III scene III is responsible for most of the events that take place during and later on. Iago has simply just penetrated his mind with ill thoughts and jealousy. Othello dismissed Desdemona, ironically when she wanted to talk to him about her honest thoughts and opinions. When Iago mentioned the 'Green-eyed monster' of jealousy it was Othello who mentioned Desdemona. Othello is also partly responsible for the dropping of Desdemona's handkerchief which she offered him. Othello is the one who ordered Cassio's death and who kills Desdemona himself. The fact that before this scene Othello was happily married, trusted his wife, had everything and now has been reduced to an insane raging animal shows Iago's intelligence and sophistication of manipulating language. Shakespeare's techniques of sexual imagery, questioning, racism and animal imagery, and silence are successful as they make you think that Iago has managed to transform Othello into a hateful and vengeful man purely by the power and sophistication of his words. However Othello is only partly to blame, Iago is responsible for pushing Othello to the brink of destruction. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jessica Smith 11DAWG 11.1 English Mr Cookson 1 ...read more.

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