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Iago's Soliloquies In William Shakespeare's Play Othello

1937 words - 8 pages

Iago's Soliloquies in William Shakespeare's Play Othello

"Othello" is a tragedy which was written in 1622 by William
Shakespeare, the title "Othello" is eponymous which means that a
character gives its name to the title. Othello is not the main
character, where as in "Macbeth" Macbeth was the main character. Right
from the beginning Shakespeare is trying to hide the importance of
Iago. Iago may be in the first scene but it starts off half way
through a conversation making the reader think Iago is just a minor
under Othello and therefore not as significant.

Conventionally soliloquies are used to portray what the character is
thinking in his mind but Iago uses soliloquies in a different manner,
he plays with the audience, manipulating their expectations, so they
never uncover the true character of Iago. All three soliloquies have
one thing in common; Iago speaks in poetry of ten syllables a line,

"That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;"

Iago impresses the audience during his soliloquies by using poetry,
which is ironic because naturally he would speak in prose, poetry is a
structured format of writing, which requires planning, and therefore
Iago's soliloquies have a pre-planned nature. This suggests that Iago
doesn't speak from his true feelings but plans what he says for his
advantage.

The first line of the first soliloquy.

"Thus do I ever make my fool my purse:

For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane."

The word "thus" makes the sentence sound like a conclusion and the
colon at the end suggests that he will explain the statement. By
repeating the word "my" a possive pronoun and with the sentence
containing monosyllabic words that fore emphasis on "my", he
underlines that this soliloquy is about him. This is exactly what the
audience would have expected, for Iago to explain what he is doing and
why, this is because that is what is conventionally done in soliloquy.

The first line of the Second Soliloquy.

"That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it;"

Again this line is a conclusion of what he is doing but the syntax of
the sentence and the semi-colon at the end force the emphasis on the
"well". The word "well" is not definite and is open to interpretation,
Love is a definite statement and with Iago giving the impression he
doesn't believe in Cassio's love; it is unsure what Iago is trying to
achieve with this statement. If the line was not been studied in close
detail than indefinite nature of Iago's statement would be missed and
the audience would be unaware of it.

The first line of the third soliloquy;

"And what's he then, that says I play the villain,"

Iago asks the audience the rhetorical question am I a villain. The
audience by now have made up their mind that he is a villain but in
contrast to the other opening lines where...

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