Othello Question notes and answers

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Othello Monologue/ Soliloquy Study

B. Mitic

Act II Response

Shakespeare hints at jealousy from the very first act of the play, with Iago confessing his jealousy at Michael Cassio’s recent promotion to lieutenant. He asserts his opinion that Cassio is of less experience than him, with phrases such as “never set a squadron in the field” and “mere prattle without practice”. The latter phrase contains violent alliteration with the ‘p’ sound, giving the audience an insight into Iago’s frustration anger and jealousy at the fact that he was not promoted; one can almost imagine him spitting the words out in rage. These quotes may also give the reader an insight into Iago’s past, showing on the other hand that he had experience ‘in the field’ of battle, and that he had, judging by his evident disappointment at lack of promotion, served for quite a long time at Othello’s side. This is also shown when he states “Othello’s eyes had seen the proof at Rhodes”. This is very much Iago's scene, and we see the versatility of his linguistic gifts most clearly throughout: where Othello's poetry serves to discover beauty and wonder in the world, Iago's language is fundamentally dishonest, allowing him to seem whatever serves his purpose. while taking his new friends into his confidence about Casio's "vice"; he protests that he would rather have his tongue cut from his mouth than "it should do offence to Michael Cassio", and suggests that Cassio's conduct must have been provoked by "some strange indignity" from "him that fled". Othello sees this as covering up inexcusable violence and demotes Cassio, who believes nevertheless that he has "well approved" (that is, proved) Iago's friendship. Shakespeare adds another twist in the plot, which draws the audience in to explore the full intentions of Iago's plan. In his remarks upon “reputation”, Iago comes as close as he ever does to revealing his true opinions: the notion of deserved reputation or integrity does not...
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