Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 12-69 How does this dialog between Cassio and Iago Develop your response to their relationship?
This particular dialog between Cassio and Iago helps us to see further the personality of Iago and the nature of his intentions - Act 2, Scene 3, Lines 12-69 How does this dialog between Cassio and Iago Develop your response to their relationship? introduction. We also get an insight to Cassio’s personality; it therefore helps us to get an overall view of their relationship. There are both similarities and differences in the two men’s language and the way they speak. This shows a lot about the men, things true of Venetian culture and society of the time and of the men themselves.
The language used by Iago, is, as is usual from Iago, crude and vulgar. It is mostly linked to sexual references. He shows his usual lack of respect for women, by viewing them as objects, and property. He uses sexual references when speaking about Desdemona, by saying;
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Cassio’s immediate response to this is one reflective of how he views Desdemona, by calling her “a most exquisite lady”. Iago lowers the tone again by agreeing with him, however not about the same thing, “And I’ll warrant her, full of game.” Cassio still does not use language similar to Iago’s and says she is “a most fresh and delicate creature.” Such discussion of Desdemona continues, and the tone continues to be brought down by Iago, whilst Cassio never says a bad word about her, even calling her “perfection.” Iago’s pruriency about Desdemona is contrasted with Cassio’s chaste admiration.
Iago uses animal imagery and sexual imagery. He refers to his mistress’ dog, always comparing the actions of people to the actions of animals. In this instance he is referring to Roderigo being a love sick fool and now “as full of quarrel and offence” as the dog. The sexual imagery he uses is again regarding Desdemona, “happiness to their sheets,” meaning Desdemona and Othello. His language is very crude.
Iago’s language is persuasive when they begin to talk about drinking. It is clear Cassio does not want to drink, but again, Iago manages to talk people around to doing what he wants them to do. We learn that Iago has a plan which requires him to get Cassio drunk. When ever he has a plan behind his actions, he can always talk them around so that the following chain of events suit him. The same is true here.
In his soliloquy, Iago begins to speak in prose, as he often does when he is on his own. His language gets more crude and blunt, making a point and informing the audience of his plans. He knows the Cypriots will take offence quickly to any suspected insult, and knows that when Cassio gets drunk he is liable to offend. Once again, Iago has everything going his way, and that is summed up in the rhyming couplet at the end of his soliloquy,
“If consequence do but approve my dream, my boat sails freely both with wind and stream.”
Cassio’s language never becomes crude or vulgar in any way, nor does he have a bad word to say about anyone, either to himself or to Iago. His language contrasts Iago’s in nearly every comment that is made in conversation between them. He highlights all of Iago’s bad points by merely speaking and commenting, as he is by far more of a gentleman.
Cassio appears to be sure of himself when he tells Iago that he does not want to drink, but slowly comes round to the idea. We can therefore see he has weaknesses, one to peer pressure and one to alcohol. This shows maybe he does, in fact, want to drink, but knows he shouldn’t.
It is clear from the passage that the men are not of the same social standing. Cassio is clearly of higher stationing. Iago will never climb any higher than he is already, and he is bitter about this. This is why he wants to bring everyone around him down who is of a higher social rank.
We can see some of the signs which distinguish social standings, when the men are all drinking together, Iago is loud and singing, especially singing drinking songs, he is trying to get a party going, being merry, and singing of the clinking of glasses. While Cassio, on the other hand, knows he shouldn’t drink too much, that is bad for him and he will lose some of the men’s respect for him if he drinks, showing he is of higher class. Also, general language and behavior indicate class and social standing. Iago speaks in a much more common way and behaves like a commoner, and appears to be rather out of his depth when with the hierarchy.
The fact that Iago is so much lower than Cassio has a great effect on him. I think that because Iago knew he would never be able to become any better or more respected, not only was he bitter about it, but jealous of the others. I think it was because of these things that drove him to do the things he did. He behaved the way he did because it was what was expected of a man of that ranking, and it showed up so much because he socialized with the highest of Venetian society. Iago hated the fact that it was highlighted so much, which in turn made him worse and more determined. It was a vicious circle for him.
Cassio did not show so much the consequential effect on him of his social standing, but he realized he had a lot more to lose than Iago, which is why he was more skeptical about drinking in case he did something to dishonour him. His higher social standing teaches him a greater respect for others and also for women which is clearly shown at the beginning of the dialog. Cassio knows less about beer drinking than Iago, showing that he does not often reside in public houses swigging beer and being loud, merry and singing songs to which everyone knows the words.
With regards to their relationship and friendship, I do not think they were really friends at all. To Cassio they were, but Iago is a user, using Cassio as a means to get to Othello. Once Iago has Cassio’s job, he will not care for him at all. Cassio was quite naï¿½ve in the first place to think that Iago would be his friend, as it was his job he took. To Iago, it was all a game and he did not care who he hurt along the way. Cassio was just another step for him towards Othello’s downfall.