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In Act Three, Scene Three, how does Iago- through his actions and words- convince Othello that Desdemona and Cassio must die

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Introduction

In Act Three, Scene Three, how does Iago- through his actions and words- convince Othello that Desdemona and Cassio must die? In Act Three, Scene Three of 'Othello', by William Shakespeare, the main theme is Iago's plan to convince Othello of Desdemona's infidelity with Cassio; and ultimately get them punished. By the end of the scene, Iago has succeeded in his malicious plan and Othello is sure that Cassio and Desdemona must be killed. Iago manages to do this through skilfully using his ability to manipulate and entrap Othello into having total faith in his words. In the beginning of the scene, Iago plays on Othello's already slightly suspicious mind (due to previously telling him that he suspects Desdemona is sleeping with Cassio) by muttering: "Ha! I Like Not That"; when Cassio leaves Desdemona's side just as Iago and Othello arrived. Othello, having not fully heard what Iago said asks Iago to repeat it, and Iago replies by saying he didn't say anything, which obviously would make Othello suspicious. Othello asks if it was Cassio who left from Desdemona's side, although he most likely knew that it was Cassio, as he would have seen him. ...read more.

Middle

Iago then says: "Note if your lady strain his entertainment with any strong or vehement importunity- much will be seen in that." Here, Iago is telling Othello that if Desdemona pleads on Cassio's behalf for his reinstatement, then Othello should see this as a sign of their relationship. Othello doesn't know, however, that Iago has already told Cassio that he should try to get reinstated by asking Desdemona to plead on his behalf; therefore Iago has set a trap that he knows will succeed. In this scene, we are also made aware that Iago has asked Emilia to steal Desdemona's handkerchief (that Othello gave her) just because he likes it, or so Emilia thinks. When Emilia gives the handkerchief to Iago, his plan is revealed and we realise why he actually wanted it so desperately. He tells us that he will place the handkerchief in Cassio's lodging, and let him find it. This means Cassio will be in possession of Desdemona's handkerchief, which could look highly suspicious. Iago says that: "Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ." This means that the smallest, seemingly insignificant thing can in fact make a huge difference to a jealous mind and be the 'final straw' in swaying their suspicions to certainty. ...read more.

Conclusion

We are therefore told that both Desdemona and Cassio are going to be murdered. It is only at the very end of the scene when Othello decides that Desdemona and Cassio must die. Throughout the scene Iago's sly comments and suggestions build up inside Othello's suspicious mind, until he is completely convinced Desdemona and Cassio are having an affair, and the only way to prevent himself looking a Cuckold and a fool will be to have them both killed. Through small but effective hints and stories about Desdemona and Cassio, like Cassio's supposed dream, Iago leads Othello to believe that there is no other possibility but that they are in a relationship. Iago's malicious intent means he will say almost anything to make Othello believe that what he is telling him is true, fooling Othello into having complete trust in Iago. Iago not only skilfully traps Othello in his web of lies, but also makes it inevitable for Desdemona and Cassio to look suspicious one way or the other- like with the handkerchief or Desdemona pleading for Cassio's reinstatement. This all adds to Othello's growing doubt of Desdemona's fidelity until he is certain that she, and Cassio, must die. ?? ?? ?? ?? Asha Greaves 1 ...read more.

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