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What might be the thoughts and feelings of the audience as they watch the following sequence in Othello? Act 2 Scene 3, Line 321 - 383

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Introduction

What might be the thoughts and feelings of the audience as they watch the following sequence in Othello? Act 2 Scene 3, Line 321 - 383 The sequence progresses in a way that when Cassio leaves the scene, Iago has time to contemplate his next actions, and with the arrival and exit of Roderigo, Iago again formulates his devious plan according to the development of the situation. In a way, Iago is going with the flow, and that should the actions taken by the other characters in the play have unpleasant consequences, his part was not significant as he is not the "villain". This sequence allow us to see Iago's manipulative nature in a continuous form; from the way he has made others see him to the revelation of his true self. Audience might feel a sense of revolt and disgust at Iago's lack of emotional attachment to others and yet, be amazed by his mastery at switching from one fa´┐Żade to another in a trice, manipulating even men of import who command much respect with such perfection that his plans are not revealed or realised, except by the audience through his soliloquies. Towards the rest of the characters, both appearing in this sequence and not, audience might sympathize with them because of the impending tragedy that ensues of which Iago have already let them in on. ...read more.

Middle

Only a man with no moral awareness will be able to do this; a man like Iago does not seem to possess even a scintilla of conscience. In here, one is able to see his ability to capitalise on Othello's weakness for Desdemona, Cassio's desperation to get his position and reputation back, and Desdemona's inclination to do good for others. Initially, his rationale for revenge is that Othello has given Cassio his rightful position. So after having "cashiered" Cassio, one would assume that his revenge is taken and he may attain the position. But instead, his ultimate revenge is to be taken on Othello for not passing on the position to him in the first place. Perhaps his lust for power has made him bent to remove anybody who is in his way, including Othello, who is the person that failed to promote him. But this lust for power is matched equally with the belief that one's self-interest is of utmost importance. Because of this belief, he is able to, without guilt, exploit another while still able to convince them that it is only in their interests that they should listen to him. He has rhetorically asked himself, "How am I then a villain / To counsel Cassio to this parallel course / Directly to his good?". When Iago uses the phrase "parallel course", it has two implications. ...read more.

Conclusion

The audience is able to see again Iago's mastery at switching from one mask to another, and his masks are all off as he is alone. As soon as Roderigo leaves, Iago returns to his plot of making Othello think Desdemona is unfaithful. He continues on as though his train of thoughts was never disrupted. Again, his inability to connect to others is shown in his soliloquy, when he addresses Emilia as "my wife", instead of a more intimate term, the way Othello addresses Desdemona. At this point, one will worry about the outcome as his devious plans as it seems fool-proof, and a man as he is, with such enthusiasm and yearning for his sweet revenge, will make sure of its success. The audience is left not only appalled by Iago and sympathising the tragic victims, but also a feeling of rage for a meaningless tragedy is about to happen as they in privy of. As seen already in previous scenes how his plans work according to his wishes, it foreshadows more to come of utter perfection in his quest for revenge. It is not so much of Iago's plan being flawless, but because nature seem to be working against the other characters. Audience would have come to realise that Iago's plans will not be able to come to fruitation if not for the other characters' actions and reactions that Iago have been able to predict. ...read more.

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