Shakespeare's Portrayal Of Iago And Brabantio In Othello

1688 words - 7 pages

Shakespeare's Portrayal of Iago and Brabantio in Othello

This extract below is taken from Act 1 scene 1, which contains plenty
of dramatic irony on the whole from Iago. It is also rich in imagery
and metaphorical expressions. The scene opens the way to show us
Shakespeare's portrayal of different characters and their various
language preferences. Iago and Brabantio are extremely contrasting
characters especially in language choices. It should be said that
Othello was written (never published) by Shakespeare for theatrical
performances. Therefore the effects of the language are meant to be
heard, as by an attentive audience as they would be. Also not many of
these effects are merely decorative however most help interpret the
action on stage of each character.

Iago is possibly the most heinous villain that Shakespeare has
created, he is fascinating for his most terrible characteristic, his
utter lack of convincing motivation for his actions. He is willing to
take revenge on anyone, Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, and even
Emilia and at the slightest provocation he enjoys the pain and damage
he causes.

Shakespeare also shows him to be funny, especially in his scenes with
the foolish Roderigo, which serve as a showcase of his manipulative
abilities. He seems almost to wink at the audience as he revels in his
own skill. Iago cleverly puts the audience on side when he is with
Roderigo, but the interactions between the two also reveal a streak of
cowardice in Iago. Some would say his horrible malicious plan for
persecuting Othello just underlines his homosexual love for the
general. He certainly seems to take great pleasure in preventing
Othello from enjoying marital happiness, and he expresses his love for
Othello frequently and effusively. It is Iago's talent for
understanding and manipulating the desires of those around him that
makes him both a powerful and a compelling figure. Even in this
extract he shows this, 'Thou art a villain.' Though the most
inveterate liar, Iago inspires all of the plays characters the trait
that is most lethal to Othello: trust.

Iago is definitely skilled in manipulating language and the extract
shows this, it begins with, 'Awake! What ho, Brabantio! Thieves,

Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves, thieves!'
Iago shouts probably from directly under a balcony in the theatre, so
that Brabantio can't see him. Here he tells Brabantio that there are
thieves and he should watch out for his daughter and money. In saying
this Iago clearly uses his role as the instigator and makes Brabantio
appear on the assumption that he is being robbed. He then teases
Brabantio, 'Are the doors locked?' His language choice at this
particular moment is just one of the examples Shakespeare uses showing
the shape of his cunning...

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