The Verbal Irony in “Othello” by Shakespeare

Topics: Othello, Iago, Irony Pages: 3 (888 words) Published: January 18, 2011
The verbal irony in “Othello” by Shakespeare

In the tragedy Othello, Shakespeare uses many important literary elements, but one of the most important is irony. Shakespeare's use of irony in Othello has a great impact on the play. The irony is what makes the story so fascinating and different than any other stories. Irony is also used to add suspense and at the same time to make the reader wonder what is going to happen next. “Verbal irony is a contrast between what a character says and what he clearly means.”(“Introduction”) “These techniques Shakespeare uses in his tragedy Othello to show the reader the intended effect of actions, his characters are signifying, without letting the other characters entertain suspicions. We see Iago many times use this form of sarcasm and irony to enlighten the reader of his villainous plans without having to uncover his plot to the other characters and therefore making the play that much more convincing.” (“Verbal”) Also he is the best example of someone who knows how to use a verbal irony very well. Everything he says is always the opposite of what he thinks. During the whole play Iago lies and manipulates the people around him for his evil purpose of destroying Othello’s life and also to get promoted. An example of this is when Iago says to Othello, “My lord, you know I love you” (IIIiii116). This is also an example of verbal irony, because Iago really detests Othello and he isn’t honest with him. He will do everything to ruin Othello’s life. And to this Othello responds, “I think thou dost; and for I know thou’rt full of love and honesty…”(IIIiii117-188), which shows to the reader that Othello takes on trust everything Iago says. In the first act Iago tells Roderigo that “You, Roderigo! Come, sir, I am for you” (Iii58). This statement is verbal irony because Iago is not actually “for” Roderigo. He is only using him as part of his scheme. He offers his help in exchange for some money, “Put money in my purse” (Iiii329)....
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