February 26, 2014
“Othello” Passage Analysis 883
“Othello” was a tragedy written by William Shakespeare around 1604. “Othello” describes a story of a well-respected Venetian general, Othello, whose life is destroyed by a deceitful and malevolent character, Iago. William Shakespeare created Iago to expose the evil cruelty lurking inside people who are not what they appear to be. Throughout the play, Iago is referred to as “Honest Iago” because he has deceived his friends into thinking he is a respectful and truthful gentleman. Iago’s ability to charm others has built himself a reputable name among the community and he is able to persuade all others into believing anything he claims. Although the characters within “Othello” are oblivious to his real intentions, Shakespeare allows the audience to see Iago’s real personality through soliloquys and dialogue between he and his accomplice. However, since the jargon of Shakespeare’s time period significantly differs from the dialect of English we use today, many people may have difficulty understanding what Shakespeare intends to convey. Three examples that reveal Iago’s intentions can be found in Act I Scene I, Act II Scene I, and Act III Scene III. In Act I Scene I of “Othello”, Iago says to Roderigo, “Were I the Moor I would not be Iago. In following him, I follow but myself - Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, But seeming so, for my peculiar end. For when my outward action doth demonstrate the native act and figure of my heart in compliment extern, ’tis not long after but I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at. I am not what I am.” (59-67). During this early speech, Iago reveals his malicious tactics to Roderigo. In other words, he says he would not want to be Iago if he were the Moor. He may act like he loves and obeys Othello, but he is only serving him to get what he wants. Next, he goes on to say that if his outward appearance reflected how he really felt,...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. “Othello” Backpack Literature, 4th ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. N.Y.: Pearson-Longman, 2012.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Othello.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
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