Iago and Cassio

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Meera Parmar                21/01/09

Comparison of Cassio and Iago

In Shakespeare’s Othello, the characters Iago (Othello’s ensign) and Cassio (Othello’s friend and lieutenant) are contrasted in many different ways. The most crucial and significant difference between Iago and Cassio is their attitudes. This contrast is shown mainly in the language that they use. Cassio is a good-natured gentleman, and he uses gracious and refined language. The audience gets this impression immediately in Act 2 Scene 1. Cassio states, “Tempests themselves, high seas, and howling winds, as having sense of beauty, do omit their mortal natures, letting safe go by the divine Desdemona". In this quotation, Cassio is talking about Desdemona as if she is a goddess, or saintly, because of the use of the word “divine”, which suggests perfection. He then, later on in the scene states, “O, behold, the riches of the shop come on shore!” When he says “the riches of the ship”, he is referring to Desdemona. This shows that he is a gentleman because he is complimenting Desdemona, and saying that she is the most important person the ship (the treasure of the ship).

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Iago, on the contrary, is the absolute opposite of Michael Cassio. He is a misogynist who uses a lot of crude and vulgar language. Every word which Iago speaks about women devours their value.  In Act 2 Scene 1, he states, “Come on, come on; you are pictures out of doors, bells in parlours, wild-cats in your kitchens, saints in your injuries, devils being offended, players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds”. This quotation shows how misogynistic Iago is as he is making all women sound like they are completely worthless. He even refers to his own wife, ...

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This response analyses form and language to some extent but there is no analysis of structure and the points are not connected to the whole play. The context of analysis must always be considered in order to demonstrate an understanding of the text. 3 Stars