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Shakespeare's Use Of Language To Show Othello's Changing State Of Mind

2518 words - 10 pages

Shakespeare's Use of Language to Show Othello's Changing State of Mind

The opening lines of the scene establish Desdemona's innocence to with
the audience. She also says: "Assure thee if I do vow a friendship,
I'll perform it to the last article." This also demonstrates her
loyalty, and that she'd die before break a friendship. This is
dramatically effective, being at the beginning of the scene because
all through the scene Othello is seen thinking and talking about how
disloyal she is. It also makes the tragedy at the end of the play more
awful, as the audience knows she really is innocent.

Iago then cunningly preys on the inquisitive nature of all humans,
including Othello, to mould his mind to thinking the way he would
like. He says unbeneficial things, dropping hints as to his feelings.
"Ha! I like it not." Iago exclaims as soon as Cassio has left the
stage. This causes, as it would anyone, Othello to enquire to Iago's
exclamation, as "it" is an ambiguous phrase to start talk; Othello
would instinctively be wondering what the "it" is. When Iago attempts
to look like it wasn't anything big, this only makes Othello more
inquisitive. Having made Othello inquisitive into what his thoughts
are, Iago can begin to adjust fact to his own want, and make Othello
believe it, if it were realistic. Iago then makes Othello think Cassio
left, guiltily, as he saw Othello. This plants the idea of Cassio
doing no good in Othello's mind, Iago working on this idea throughout
the rest of the play.

Shakespeare shows the audience Desdemona and Othello's love at the
beginning of this act by the way they talk - he calls her "sweet
Desdemon", while she shows that she'd love to spend any time he had
with him. This again makes the end of the play more tragic. The
display of love towards each other is followed by Desdemona talking
about Cassio. As the thoughts of Cassio quickly leaving in guilt have
been planted by Iago, Othello is annoyed, thoughts of Desdemona and
Cassio having an affair already shooting. The irony here is that she
was only trying to get his job back; instead it reduces the chances he
will get it back.

Iago's comments after Desdemona leaves aim to put more thoughts of
Cassio in Othello's mind. When talking, Iago often brakes off, making
Othello inquisitive again, making his mind finish off the sentence.
The breaking off also makes Iago seem reluctant to say whatever he was
going to, and therefore the words that come out of his mouth seem to
Othello to be more realistic and believable, making him believe
whatever Iago says more readily. He also apologises, reinforcing the
realism of Iago's words. Iago also repeats words that Othello had just
spoken. "Is he not honest? / Honest my lord?" and ""What dost thou
think? / Think, my lord?" The effect of this is angering Othello,
...

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