Othello Essay

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In the play, ‘Othello,’ by William Shakespeare, one character is considered the most evil character in all of English literature. This character is Iago, the antagonist of the play. He is considered so evil because of his ability to manipulate and persuade people into believing things, and making others’ good qualities the main reason for their downfall. During the course of the play, he manipulates others to do whatever he wants, and makes Othello believe that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio, the man who recently was given the title of second in command, a job in which Iago felt he was better qualified for. This is one of the main reasons that Iago wants to make Othello suffer, though he also mentions the fact that he was suspicious that Othello slept with his wife, Emilia.

Iago is a master of Rhetoric, the art of persuasion. He uses three aspects of rhetoric in his persuasion: Pathos, which appeals to emotion, specifically anger, fear and pity; Ethos, which appeals to the speaker’s credibility in the play, and finally Logos, which appeals to logic. He is so successful with his manipulation because not only is he extremely clever and witty, but also very trusted among every character in the play, especially Othello. Othello believes that Iago is his right hand man, and tells him nothing but the truth. Iago takes advantage of this by pretending to feel sorry for him when he tells him lies about Cassio and Desdemona, and how they have been sleeping together. One example of Iago acting sorry for Othello is in lines 182-210 of Act 3, Scene 3:

Othello-    Why, why is this?
Think’st thou I’d make a life of jealousy, to follow still the changes of the moon with fresh suspicions? No! To be once in doubt is to be resolved. Exchange me for a goat when I shall turn the business of my soul to such exsufflicate and blowed surmises, matching thy inference. 'Tis not to make me jealous to say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, Is free of...
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