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

What techniques does Shakespeare use to reveal Iago's villainy?

Extracts from this document...


What techniques does Shakespeare use to reveal Iago's villainy? The play Othello is a stereotypical Shakespearean tragedy and it uses characters that are stereotypical of the views people had during the Jacobean period. Othello is a tragedy because the main characters die at the end f the play, also throughout the play themes of prejudice; deceit and love/hate are introduced. Shakespeare has used other sources other that his imagination for his plays. 'Othello' was thought to have been taken from Hecatommithi, a collection of Italian short stories written by Giraldi Cinthio, the story seven contains many of the same names and situations as in Othello. In this essay I will analyze and comment on how Shakespeare uses techniques to reveal Iago's villainy. I will look at what effects the techniques Shakespeare uses have on the way Iago is presented to the audience. In act 2 scene 3 'Othello' we can clearly see the way Iago uses his surreptitious mind to persuade Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Casio. Due to Iago's manipulation of Othello, Othello starts to doubt Desdemona's loyalty and becomes under Iago's control. Iago uses a sly way to get Othello's attention and get him to believe what he has to say is true, he uses phrases such as "my noble lord" using both a personal pronoun by saying "my" and flattery by calling Othello his "noble lord" which would be taken as a huge compliment. ...read more.


This makes the readers feel slightly intimidated by the character Iago; he is cunning and devious and is very clever at carrying out his plans toward Othello. Shakespeare uses specific techniques to show that the manipulation of other characters by Iago. Iago makes the characters in the play believe he is honest when in fact he is deceiving them and is going behind their backs to turn others against them. For example, in act 3 scene 3 "my noble lord". Iago is gaining Othello's trust by using personal pronouns and addressing him as if they were the best of friends. By gaining Othello's trust, Iago thinks Othello will listen to him more and is more likely to believe what he is saying. By having this advantage of being able to influence what Othello does and says, the other characters wouldn't know what Iago is doing; but with Othello being in charge, Iago technically has control over the other characters by being able to influence Othello's decisions. He later then says "o beware, my lord of jealousy" in this statement Iago is making Othello think about Cassio trying to get with Desdemona because he is jealous of Othello and Desdemona's relationship. One of Iago's techniques is to find the characters' weaknesses and use it against them. One example of this is when Iago discovers Cassio's weakness was alcohol; Cassio leaves Iago on his own, this gives him time to explain to the audience what he is planning to do. ...read more.


Iago is clever by covering his deception by never saying anything that he would think Othello would take offence to or not believe, he only says things he knows Othello is thinking anyway so he doesn't get himself into trouble, he never even suggests anything he just presents them as mere ideas so people have nothing to blame on him later on it the play " to grosses issues, nor larger reach than to suspicion" Iago is urging Othello to take a different course of action in certainty he is only planting the idea in his mind. Racism and prejudice would be a difficult theme to portray if Iago's villainy was revealed at the beginning, Othello would never befriend a known villain because he is hated enough for his race, he feels alien to Desdemona and his other characters n the play, "his own clime, complexion and degree", this makes Othello feel alienated, "set on thy wife", Othello has moved from feeling fine to feeling low, he sunk very quickly after Iago mentioned he is different to Desdemona, he took things to heart easily and took offence very easily. Until the end, Othello has no suspicion towards Iago's villainy, this is strange as Iago is trying to turn Othello against his beloved wife, he tries to imply this has cheated on him, he is jealous and he is imagining things, all false accusations, yet Othello notices nothing, because of the repeated use of the word honest when talking about Iago. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Response to the question

This essay engages adequately to the question, yet tends to retell the plot at times. It is evident from the introduction that this essay isn't the strongest, which isn't the position you want to put the marker in before they've ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This essay engages adequately to the question, yet tends to retell the plot at times. It is evident from the introduction that this essay isn't the strongest, which isn't the position you want to put the marker in before they've even read the rest! There is a lot of unnecessary bolted context such as "views of Italian men". Yes, if this was woven into why Iago is a villain, that would've been strong. However, it is not and just loses focus.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is weak. My major query is that they write the whole essay as if the characters are making their own decisions. I remember this being a major issue with some when moving up to GCSE level, but it's key to refer to Shakespeare's constructions. By talking about Shakespeare's choices of making Iago a villain, you will naturally discuss why he has chosen to do so and the effect on the reader. Without such style, it will always fail to reach the top marks. Quotes are well embedded which was nice to see, and sometimes language is closely analysed. When talking about Iago, I would always focus on imagery, and in particular satanic or poisonous themes. It would've been better if this essay could've used a few more technical terms. I would've liked to have seen Iago's soliloquies explicitly mentioned, as these are key to showing his villainy. Audience response is mentioned four times in this essay, whereas it should be thoroughly explored.

Quality of writing

The essay has an okay structure, but the introduction is awful. There is no need to bolt on a paragraph of context about Shakespeare's time of writing, and the paragraph saying "I will" is highly unsophisticated. A good introduction should get right to the point. I presume this has been entered by an American, but it's annoying to see "analyze" or "prioritize" in an English Literature essay!

Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by groat 24/02/2012

Read less
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. Marked by a teacher

    Is Iago The Perfect Villain?

    5 star(s)

    suspect that Othello has slept with Emilia, Iago's wife. Indeed, it seems on first glance that the line is meant to make Iago even more evil, as it sounds like he has a solid motive for wanting to ruin the life of Othello.

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

    because of Othello's colour, Iago warns Brabantio that he has 'lost half [his] soul' now that Desdemona is married to Othello. Iago here emphasises the biracial nature of the marriage, already showing his ability to manipulate people, in this case he is manipulating Brabantio, to believe in Iago's own opinions

  1. Othello and 'O' Comparative Essay

    When Iago is deceiving Othello, it is suspenseful for the responder, particularly towards the conclusion of the play where this deception consequently leads to his demise. In contrast with Shakespeare's poetic and dramatic devices, Nelson uses 21st Century techniques in the medium of the film to explore the issue of appearance versus reality.

  2. What does Iago's use of language in his soliloquies reveal about his true character?

    Iago also uses quotes such as "The Moor is of free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so, and will as tenderly be led by the nose as asses are." He uses this to portray Othello as a Donkey, as he believes that Othello

  1. Othello - How far do you agree that the play's main concern is to ...

    slide into extreme jealousy, and to believe only what one character, Iago, told him. The characteristics that make up such an important character, such as Othello, are crucial to the way in which the play turns.

  2. How does Shakespeare reveal Iago's villainy throughout 'Othello'?

    could be argued from that his use of language Iago is racist and dislikes black people. Stating, "I hate the Moor, And it is thought that twixt my sheets He's done my office." This quote comes from the soliloquy in 1:3:379-381 which shows his reasons for revenge.

  1. Explore how Shakespeare examines the themes of jealousy and deception in Othello

    against him, for example when Othello says, "The fountain from the which my current runs, or else dries up; to be discarded thence! Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads.

  2. Essay on 'Othello'

    The scene is set at night where dark and underhand deeds are covered up, and not seen by the light of day. It begins with two characters, Roderigo and Iago, disputing. Roderigo is fervent to possess Desdemona, with the help of Iago.

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