Othello Character Analysis Act Iii

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Unlike the respected general found in the preceding acts of the play, Othello's noted reason and wisdom slowly deteriorates in his rage of jealousy over his wife and utter loathing of his former lieutenant Cassio. Although most of information that serves as a basis for Othello's anger is false and merely a portion of Iago's scheme to earn the position of lieutenant, the general's trust in Iago is too great to realize his soldier's malicious intent. By feigning self restraint, Iago captures the imagination of his general and is then able to manipulate Othello, while allowing Othello to believe the ideas and suspicions are his own. When Iago suggests that Othello should be suspicious of the relationship between his wife and Cassio, Othello strays from the once rational and peace-seeking statements and becomes consumed in jealousy. Out of anger he exclaims "blood blood blood!" and even compares his own desire to destroy his wife and Cassio to the Pontic sea saying, "whose icy current and compulsive course ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on". When Othello reprimands Desdemona for losing the handkerchief he gave to her, he then goes on to explain its significance and origin. He says, "That handkerchief did an Egyptian to my mother give. She was a charmer…'Twould…subdue my father entirely to love her." The handkerchief is also significant as it is the first glimpse of Othello's mysterious background and family. The quarrel between Othello and Desdemona escalates largely because Desdemona is ignorant of the reasoning behind Othello's sudden anger and Othello cannot understand his wife's desire to help Cassio regain his status as lieutenant. Unfortunately for the couple, Othello's trusting nature is directed towards the one character whose intents are entirely wicked and not towards his innocent wife.
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