Othello Coursework

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Consider Shakespeare’s Presentation of Iago in Act 2 Scene 3 of ‘Othello’.

Othello is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies but also a love story of two lovers. Shakespeare’s tragic heroes always had at least one main flaw, which contributed to their downfall. In Othello’s case it was jealousy; when he was told Desdemona was having an affair. Other themes the play deals with includes hatred, racism, betrayal and discrimination. Although Othello is the main protagonist in the play, however, in many ways Iago seems to be the dominant character. Iago is presented in complete contrast to Othello, and is the villain of the play. Othello is a respected high-ranking general whereas Iago is a lower status and referred to as in his ‘ancient’ or his ‘ensign’. Many critics often describe Iago as the narrator of ‘Othello’; a fascinating character who is the main focus of the play. Many critics also see Iago as an intriguing character as he can be unpredictable. At the beginning of the play, it is Iago and Roderigo who are the first on stage, not Othello. If one were to form an opinion of Othello from this discussion, it would not be a favourable one. The audience is made aware of Iago’s hatred of Othello because Othello promoted Cassio instead of him and his belief that Othello slept with his wife. Furthermore Roderigo is jealous of the fact that Othello has taken Desdemona as his wife. In Act 2 Scene 3 of Othello, Iago is presented as the puppeteer, constantly manipulating everyone around him. Critics have argued about Iago’s motives for wanting to hurt others but in this scene he comes across as cruel and malicious. The scene is set in a castle and opens with Iago trying to get Cassio drunk. Iago motivated by his lust for power is attempting to dispose Cassio of his position as a lieutenant. Knowing that Cassio cannot handle his liquor it would be more likely he would fight if he’s drunk and that would make him look bad in Othello’s eyes. The opening scene presents us...
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