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What do you learn about the character of Iago in the opening act of 'Othello'? Focus closely on his language, its structure and the techniques he uses to persuade Roderigo out of his despair in their conversation in Act 1 scene 3.

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Introduction

What do you learn about the character of Iago in the opening act of 'Othello'? Focus closely on his language, its structure and the techniques he uses to persuade Roderigo out of his despair in their conversation in Act 1 scene 3. In my essay I will be looking closely at the character Iago in Shakespeare's play 'Othello'. Iago is an Ensign who works under the black General, Othello. Iago, on several occasions, is referred to as 'Good Iago' and 'Honest Iago', showing the audience his relationships and respect he has with the other characters. Due to the lack status of black people had in white society, the character Othello was often played by white actors in dark make-up. It is believed that Othello's name may have originated from the character Thorello in Ben Jonson's play, 'Every man in his humor', who was acted by William Shakespeare. Up until the extract of scene 3 (act 1), we learn of Roderigo's unhappy love for Desdemona, who has now married Othello. Roderigo is a Venetian gentleman who knows Desdemona's father, Brabantio. With Iago's persuasion, Roderigo goes to Brabantio to tell him of Desdemona and Othello's secret marriage. Brabantio is angry and feels deceived by his daughter; he then accuses Othello of bewitching his daughter. ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the play Emilia is paid little attention to by Iago, however, he suddenly becomes interested in his wife when she retrieves Desdemona's handkerchief, which he uses as part of his revenge on both Cassio and Othello. Furthermore, in this extract, he refers to intercourse with his wife as 'my office', which indicates that it is expected of Emilia to entertain him and it is her duty to Iago to do as he wants. Offices are sometimes associated with tedious, boring work, implying how he feels his relationship with his wife is, however this could further imply the type of duties he expects from his wife. This reinforces the idea of his lack of respect to women and his wife. On the other hand, Venetian women have had the reputation of being clever, sly and unfaithful to their husbands. Unlike Desdemona, Emilia has appeared to almost live up to this reputation. Desdemona and Emilia talk about being faithful to their husbands after Othello (who now has been subconsciously heavily influenced by Iago's plot) accuses Desdemona of fornication. Emilia, like Iago, shows little love for her partner and tells Desdemona that she may consider betraying her husband for the world, she says 'the world is a big place'. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Elizabethan times stages would often not have any curtains therefore Shakespeare would indicate a change of scene with a rhyming couplet. To end scene 3 Iago uses a rhyming couplet in soliloquy: 'I ha't, it is engendered; Hell and night Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light.' This conjures up images of destruction and danger the plan will do like a monster. The scene takes place at night and this couplet could be inferring the closeness the events of the scene had with hell. However, to me this had conjures up the possibility of Iago's evil hatching a evil creature within Othello and bringing out an other personality of Othello we have not seen yet. I really enjoyed the play because of Iago. He makes people believe that he is loyal, conscientious and noble minded, all qualities that Othello has. However, behind this appearance is two-faced dark, devious, malicious and vengeful Iago. He has kept me interested, although I could fully understand him from the soliloquies he had managed to turn every situation around to his liking differently every time. Even with his intelligence, he fails to see that he can not always hoodwink everyone and he is surprisingly found out and defeated at the end of the play. I believe that the villains can always be the best characters of the play or story due to their complicated and cunning nature. Natasha Rix 10JT 1 ...read more.

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