Othello Act 3 - Part 3
Throughout act 3 scene 3 Iago’s manipulation through the power of language gradually destroys Othello’s sanity and takes control over his full mental and emotional state - Othello Act 3 introduction. He does this by using his skills an orator to create an illusion that Desdemona is ‘directly in love’ with Cassio, thus attacking his emotional vulnerability. Iago advances his attack on Othello due to his opportunistic behaviour and gradually destroys his dignity, putting him into an uncontrollable rage. At the beginning, we see Othello’s total love for and trust in his wife. However, in scene three that we start to deal with Iago eating away at Othello’s mind and reason.
Iago’s comments on Cassio’s exit from the garden when he says: “Ha! I like not that. ” From this he creates suspicion in Othello. He carefully maneuvers his words in order for Othello to become more distressed by what he has to say. “But he that filches from me my good name/ Robs me of that which not enriches him”. He suggests that Othello should be wary of being jealous, knowing full well that by nature Othello is not a jealous man: “O! Beware, my lord, of jealousy:/ It is the green-eye’d monster, which doth mock/ The meat it feeds on: that cuckold lives in bliss/ Who, certain of its fate, loves not his wronger”.
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Iago goes on to remind Othello that she deceived her father in marrying the Moor. Iago is pleased to see how his work on Othello is progressing, and he becomes bolder. He suggests that Desdemona is having second thoughts about her marriage to Othello, and regrets their partnership. He also suggests that Cassio and Desdemona have been having an affair. “look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio. ” From this statement, Iago suggests that he knows Venician women and Othello doesn’t. Othello also views Iago as his closest and only confidante. “I am bound to thee forever. In Othello’s soliloquy, we see the results of Iago’s poison. He opens by praising Iago’s honesty. He feels that Desdemona has been playing with his feelings. He curses the marriage and says, “I had rather be a toad and live upon the vapor of a dungeon than keep a corner in the thing I love for others’ uses”. If she be false, O! then heaven mocks itself. ” Othello’s confidence is undermined and although we do not feel that he is acting jealously, there is a clear indication that he requires revenge. We have watched Othello change from being the hero to the victim.
Othello fears the public humiliation he would receive if Desdemona was to be proved guilty of sleeping with Cassio and his passionate nature doesn’t allow him to think over what he hears or if its true. Iago understands this as he is a very imaginative individual, who can picture themselves feeling the way Othello would feel. “The Moor is of a free and open nature,/ That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,/?And will as tenderly be led by the nose/ As asses are. ” Despite Iago’s control, Othello is still not entirely overcome by his power.
Othello gets stirred up into a rage by Iago and says: “villain by sure though prove my love a whore;/ Be sure of it. give me the ocular proof,/ Or by the worth of my eternal soul,/ Though hast been better have been born a dog/ than answer my waked wrath! ” Through this, there is a sense of him regaining his dignity and coming out of the control of Iago. However again, through the power of language Iago is able to hold onto Othello. “ To be direct and honest is not safe. / I thank you for this profit, and from hence/ I’ll love no friend, sith love breeds such offence. ” Iago take complete power over Othello when they both kneel to each other.
Othello who is in an apoplectic rage creates a bond with Iago when he says: “I am your own forever. ” Iago dismantles Othellos emotions and destroys his dignity. He is slowly losing his nobility and power as an individual through iago’s manipulation and power of language. Evil is corrupting his mind and his actions, and Iago’s words will make Othello an instrument of evil. Iago targets Othellos most vulnerable point, Desdemona and uses her to kindle ungovernable rage in him. This transformation occurs during this scene and ends with Iago taking total command over Othello’s mind.