• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Referring to Iago's soliloquy at the end of Act I scene III, examine what Shakespeare shows the audience about his character

Extracts from this document...


Referring to Iago's soliloquy at the end of Act I scene III, examine what Shakespeare shows the audience about his character Iago is one of the central characters within Shakespeare's 'Othello' and is introduced extremely early in the play, Act I scene I. It is generally assumed from even this early in the play that Iago is cunning, plotting man as he converses with Rodrigo. Throughout the centuries the common opinion on Iago is that he is an insidious, misogynistic, materialistic, dissimulating character, among other things. Few critics have spoken in appraisal of Iago's character and actions. In act I scene III, Iago ends the scene with his first soliloquy. Soliloquies generally reveal a lot about a person's character to the audience, but this is the first time the audience gets a taste of his thoughts. He begins by discussing Rodrigo: 'My fool my purse' This is particularly dissimulating as he had just been talking to Rodrigo, planning how to match make him with Desdemona. ...read more.


Iago displayed the same reaction that most men would, and so felt betrayed and angry, although he did not know for sure that the act occurred. This is a good argument against Coleridge's critical comment on his actions. He described his actions as: 'Motiveless malignity'. This does appear to be the case, to a certain extent. Especially for a modern day audience, we find it harder to accept that Iago would become so nasty to people so close to him, but to an Elizabethan audience it would be more believable without any motive behind him. This part of the speech may not excuse his behavior for the rest of the play, but it is a starting point, it gives the audience something to relate to, to begin to justify his actions. 'Cassio is a proper man' with this sense of the word, proper means handsome rather then suitable. This appears to be a compliment to Cassio, but again Iago is using him for his own means. ...read more.


It is this perception that makes the play possible. Othello is Iago's general; therefore he should be respected, and not ridiculed, which he is in this soliloquy: 'As asses are'. It is disrespectful for Iago to be referring to his general as a fool, whether he is a Blackamoor or not. This shows that Iago is not a decent character; he does not even have the decency to respect his general, let alone other aspects of his character. Towards the end of the soliloquy, Iago refers to: 'Hell and night' Which would have been a lot more relevant to an Elizabethan audience as it represents the devil and malicious behavior. It is ironic that he uses devilish language, as he is associated with the devil due to his evil character. To emphasize this point, he also says: 'Monstrous birth to the world's light'. This also would have had a greater impact on an Elizabethan audience, and this is only the beginning of the devilish language used by Iago. It was said by William Turnbull that: 'Iago is an unbeliever in, and a denier of, all things spiritual, who only acknowledges God, like Satan, to defy him'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    Iago recognizes this; he realizes that for Othello to become a beast he has to violate his own sense of justice. With this realization, Iago concocts his plan to have Othello murder Desdemona. He is convinced that in wrongfully murdering his wife, Othello's manhood will be destroyed and his beastiality will be exposed.

  2. Othello - Examine the importance and effectiveness of Act III, scene 3, considering the ...

    Othello doesn't come into the play until the beginning of Act I, scene 2 where he confronts Iago and speaks of how he is confident with the love that he shares with Desdemona. He doesn't want anyone to stand between their relationship and he wants Brabantio to know how he feels about Desdemona.

  1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge believes the character of Iago reveals 'the motive hunting of motiveless ...

    In this speech we are able to see Iago act more as a human than a monster. He tries to make himself feel better by convincing himself that his lies are actually true. If he was a 'devil' who does evil for his own sake, than he wouldn't care if his lies were true or not.

  2. Othello - Character study of Iago

    His entire motives stem from one thing, jealousy, all of Iago's motives are due to this single feeling. His revenge comes from wanting to avenge the people he is jealous of. He seems to elaborate on these initial ideas until he thinks that everybody has slept with his wife, for this he wants further revenge.

  1. "How does Shakespeare engage the audience through character and action in the first Act?"

    Shakespeare uses the theme of racial tension to teach his audience to be more tolerant of things that are strange to us. This proves to us that nothing is new in the world. The prejudices of modern society have hardly changed since Shakespeare's time.

  2. How does Othello's character change from the beginning of the play to the end ...

    Both the audience's feelings towards Othello are probably quite similar, though the 16th century's audiences would probably be more biased.

  1. "Iago's soliloquy at the end of Act 1; what does his language tell us ...

    master's ass" shows how he feels that they waste their lives being another's workhorse while receiving none of the profits.

  2. Discuss how Shakespeare uses language to explain Othello's character in Act III Scene III. ...

    Othello has several insecurities especially the fear that as a foreigner and a simple soldier, the sophisticated Venetians will not accept him in their society. He loves Desdemona so much that he cannot bear to lose her, yet he is constantly reminded of their differences.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work