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"Othello" By Shakespeare: Iago By End Of Act I

1173 words - 5 pages

"Othello" by William Shakespeare is a tragedy that constructs the play's antagonist Iago, as a two-sided character. Throughout Act I in the play, Iago shows his complex character, who has been presented as racist, manipulative villain, two-faced and jealous. In Act I, Iago complains he hates Othello, as he was not appointed as an officer by him. He plans to cheat Roderigo taking his money and convince Othello, Cassio has slept with Desdemona to bring Othello to destruction. Iago serves a purpose to the play and has been constructed in this way to establish the plot and characters. The audience at this point gain their opinion of characters and clearly know who to sympathise.Iago is introduced as a racist man from the very beginning of the play. Iago refers to Othello with epithets to suggest Othello as a lust driven animal that is violating the innocent Desdemona. For instance, he calls Othello, 'an old black ram' who is 'tupping' over Brabantio's "white ewe" (Act I, Scene I, 89-90). He is referring to the fact that Othello is 'a dark skinned man. Iago then associates Othello's colour with the image of 'the devil' (Act1, Scene1, 92) suggesting to Brabantio that he has 'lost half soul' now that Desdemona is married to Othello. This epithets give the audience negative images of Othello and allows them to place prejudicial views. The repetition of the word 'Moor' by Iago abusively implies that Othello is worse than white people and because of his race he should not hold the position he does in the army. Othello's race is supported by an animal imagery 'Barbary horse', (Act1, Scene1, 111) portraying a beasty animal-like image and that this quality will arise throughout the family if Desdemona married a 'moor'. The contrast between black and white is used as a comparison between evil and good. Iago's frequently concern over race influences one to believe that Othello is somewhat different. From this reference one is able to understand the feelings of Iago and his motives. Therefore, these examples provide definite evidence that Iago is a racist man.Iago plays a smart role of a manipulative villain. He is a good judge of people and their characters and uses this as an advantage. He uses manipulative language to convince Roderigo into thinking that they are friends, 'I have professed me thy friend" (Act 1, Scene 1, 328). However, Iago's exact purpose for manipulating Roderigo is revealed through a persuasive repetition, 'Put money in thy purse' (Act1, Scene3, 332-340) where Iago cunningly plans to take Roderigo's money for his benefit while using Roderigo for other purposes. One is positioned to sympathise Roderigo because now the audience understands Iago's wicked motives. Iago uses a metaphor, 'Our bodies are out gardens, to which our wills are gardeners' (Act 1, Scene3, 314) calling human body a garden and that one's wills and desires are gardeners. This reveals the manipulative attitude of Iago. He suggests that Othello and Desdemona's desire for...

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