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Closely analyse the soliloquies of Iago

By afyare23 Oct 21, 2014 725 Words

Closely analyze these seven soliloquies of Iago. You must show your understanding of Shakespeare use of dramatic structure and imagery as well as commenting on language value. Iago’s soliloquies give insight into his duplicitous nature. It gives usthrough dramatic irony and our privileged position, we come see that he is engaged in "double-knavery” (Act 1, scene 3) and not at all the "honest and true" Iago that others believe him to be. The audience would be amazed at the absolute faith that the characters have in Iago's honesty, to which only the audience knows the truth. The seven soliloquies gives us a clear picture into Iago’s mind and as the soliloquies progress we quickly see his observant understanding of human nature and his attempt to slowly still his passions to reason begin to sharpen. This is evidenced when we look at the first soliloquy Iago quickly reviews the characters of the three people he has to deal with: Roderigo, Cassio and Othello. He calls Roderigo a “snipe” to emphasis how easy it is to fool him, as snipes are notorious at running into traps. Iago sees Roderigo as nothing more than a “purse” to which he can use to further his own goals. As for Cassio, he sees him as a “proper man” (Act 1, Scene 3), Iago plans for Cassio wasn’t formed, yet the answer stared right at his face. Cassio’s physical appearance will be the driving force towards Othello’s downfall. As for Othello, Iago briefly states his hatred for Othello “I hate the Moor” (Act 1, Scene 3), it is interesting to see that he does not name Othello, other than reference him. His hatred stems from rumors that have circulated around “his office” about his alleged adulterous affair with Emilia. Because of Othello’s “free and open nature” (Act 1, Scene 5) Iago will use that to his advantage. Thus he compares Othello to a donkey, being “led by the nose” giving us adequate imagery to prove his point. The imagery in the final couplet gives us two references to childbirth ‘engendered’ and “monstrous birth”, Iago is subverting a revered human role by stating “monstrous birth”. We can also note the use of “hell and night” – dark, supernatural powers will be the ones to take this birth, bringing it into the world’s “light”. Iago’s plan will bring concealed conflict and pain to a more public avenue. This also contributes to the ongoing contrasts between light and dark, or black and white, throughout the play (and of course referring to Othello and Desdemona’s skin colors). (Act 1, Scene 3). The second soliloquy of Iago (Act 2, Scene 1), is nothing but an elaboration of his first soliloquy, and throws some fresh light upon the inner nature of Iago. The Moor—how be it that I endure him not/ is of a constant, loving, noble nature”.  Iago is shows his honesty and control of his emotions.  He despises Othello but he does not let that hatred blind him to the true nature of Othello.  He is still able to acknowledge that Othello is a worthy and noble man in contrast to his own Machiavellian nature. And thus uses that very nature to bring about his downfall. The third soliloquy (Act 2, Scene 3), though short yet prepares the audience for his conspiracy against Cassio The fourth soliloquy of Iago (Act III, Scene iii) gives us a glimpse into the second stage of Iago’s conspiracy against Cassio and Othello. The fifth soliloquy of Iago (Act V, Scene i), reveals how Iago is going to poison the ears of Othello against Cassio and Desdemona. This soliloquy shows Iago’s knowledge of human psychology, namely if Othello finds Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s hand, he is bound to suspect that Desdemona has some illicit relationship with Cassio and this suspicion leads to the tragedy of the play. The sixth soliloquy is one of the shortest soliloquies of the play but it is quite significant because when Othello falls into a fainting fit due to his fits of anger, sorrow and hatred. The seventh and final soliloquy of Iago reveals his further poisoning the mind of Othello against Cassio and Desdemona which led to Othello’s most dangerous decision-murdering both Cassio and Desdemona. Bibliography:

Sprakes, Andrew.2001,. William Shakespeare Othello for A Level: Letts Educational: Aldine House: Aldine Place: London

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