How does Shakespeare use humor in Othello

Topics: Iago, Comedy, Othello Pages: 2 (606 words) Published: April 27, 2015
 How does Shakespeare use humor in the play?

Though Othello is categorize as a tragedy, but in fact it can be display as a black comedy as well. Shakespeare uses humor through various kind of irony, such as verbal, situational and dramatic. He also creates comical characters in the play which adds humor to the plot.

Verbal irony is mostly use that portrays how other characters see Iago and who Iago really is. Iago describes Othello as “an old black ram” or call him the “Moor” when talking to others. However, since Iago acts innocent and friendly in front of Othello, Othello often prays Iago, like “honest Iago” and “Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter”. The irony Is that Othello sees Iago as a true friend who tells him the truth or help him to find evidence to his wife’s unfaithfulness, but Iago is just fooling Othello. This can be seen as humorous as audience can see Othello trusting everything Iago tells him and the contrast of Iago’s attitude when facing different characters.

The outcome of situational irony can be humorous as it is not expected, like the scene where Cassio gets drunk. In the beginning of the scene, Cassio tells Iago that he has “very poor and unhappy brains for drinking” and swears he will only have “one cup tonight” and “dare not to task [my] weakness with any more”. However, Cassio gets drunk and starts to have drunk talks like “Ay, but by your leave, not before me; the lieutenant is to be saved before the ancient”. This scene is funny as Cassio does the direct opposite of what he says. Another situational irony is that Cassio is the only one alive and got promoted. Othello kills himself after he kills Desdemona, Emilia gets killed by Iago and Iago gets arrested. Cassio doesn’t know the truth that he was manipulated by Iago even till the very end. The characters that know the truth and involved in Iago’s plan are dead.

As for the dramatic irony which highlights that this play is a black comedy, occurs when...
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