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"Othello" act 3, scene 3.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Othello" During act 3, scene 3, the full extent of Iago's evil flourish is realised as he proceeds to have a malignant and cancerous effect on Othello and his relationship with Desdemona. During this time, he also builds bridges with many of the other characters, before deceiving and betraying them. All of this makes him one of the most evil and wicked characters Shakespeare has ever created, but also, one of the most fascinating and intriguing. Act 3, scene 3 opens with Desdemona making a promise to Cassio who has jus lost his position as lieutenant because of Iago: "But I will have my Lord, and you again As friendly as you were." This statement shows the audience that Desdemona is a loyal and dedicated friend, but it is also signing her own death warrant. When Iago hears of her plans to reunite her husband and Cassio in the army after Cassio's street brawl, his evil and devilish plan begins to take form and unfold as he corrupts Desdemona's loyalty, and causes her friendship with Cassio to become immeasurably distorted. Not only does Iago ruin the lives of Othello and Desdemona, but he also tampers with people's thoughts and feelings. He does this in a number of ways throughout the scene. The main and most calculated is by taking short sentences and phrases and distorting and corrupting them, to give a totally different meaning. Desdemona's dedication is persistently portrayed by Shakespeare during her time on stage. He does this to show how good a person, Desdemona is: "I'll perform it To the last article." With this, the audience begin to realise the true extent of Desdemona's loyalty in her duty. Over time she will begin to "intermingle" everything her husband does and says, with Michael Cassio. This is only the start of Othello's immense jealousy and suspicion. The way Iago begins his annihilation of Othello, is by putting on a false face, deceiving his wife Emilia: "I warrant it grieves my husband, As if the cause were his." ...read more.

Middle

Suddenly, Iago throws in the words, 'jealousy' and, 'cuckhold'. He is saying it is better to know your wife is having an affair, than being eaten away by suspicious thoughts and fears that she is with another man. This is also superficially preparing Othello for the bomb-shell that Iago will drop into his life and love for Desdemona, but Othello makes a come back, which completely throws Iago off track. Following his short statements, Othello regains confidence and hits back at Iago, saying that he does not doubt his wife's faithfulness because she chose him, although she could have had anyone she wanted. This momentarily fills Othello with hope and puts a dampener on Iago's plan. This is a very testing time for Iago and will prove to the audience whether or not he can carry out his plan right to the last article, and he does. Just as the audience thought he would, he bounces back at Othello by admitting he has no proof of Desdemona's affair. He does advise him though, to take note of how Desdemona acts regarding Michael Cassio. At this point, Iago once again gains the upper hand by focusing on Othello's origin and background: "I know our country disposition well: In Venice, they do let God see the pranks They dare not show their husbands." He is African and Iago is Italian, so he claims that he knows more about Venetian women than Othello does. This would make him feel very vulnerable and as if he is an outsider. After temporarily regaining his confidence in Desdemona, Othello once again begins to doubt his wife, imagining that she is taking pride in hiding her temptations and affairs. This is yet another example of dramatic irony used continuously throughout the play. Only the audience know that Desdemona is totally in love with her husband and would never deceive him by having an affair. ...read more.

Conclusion

The scene, that has been pivotal to the whole play, ends in an evil way: "Oh blood, blood, blood." At the time this is being said, Othello is knelt down. Not praying to the gods, but to Satan and the underworld. Then Iago joins him by kneeling down too. This is a mocking parody as ostensibly he is agreeing with Othello with a sense of sympathy and consideration, but within, he is laughing at Othello. Only the audience can see this at the moment. They are the only ones who know how Iago really is. It has been a very ironic scene as Iago has played the honest, faithful, caring friend and to great effect. This putting on of a false face has earned him what he wanted all along: Cassio is wanted dead by Othello, and so too is Desdemona, his fair wife whom he loved so much only a few moments earlier on stage, but Iago has one last chance to show no one but the audience his immense powers of manipulation, opportunism and judge of character: "But let her live." Once again, Iago says this in complete confidence that Othello will strongly disagree, and he does. It is a mere sign for Othello that Iago has been completely reliable and trustworthy and most important of all, Othello now feels that Iago is suffering from guilt that because of his honesty, two people will die. The ending is bitterly ironic, ending with Iago's promotion to Lieutenant, which is what he would treasure most and Othello will soon lose the thing he treasures most, Desdemona. Iago exits the stage whilst in the ascendancy, but there will be consequences...... It is therefore obvious, that Iago is a hugely malignant force upon Othello, who has played him just as he wanted and eventually, after overcoming many obstacles, he has left the stage with total domination and authority over everything that happens and is to happen in later scenes throughout the duration of the play. 1 ...read more.

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