This is an essay on the play Othello. This essay will explain hoe Iago poisons Othello’s mind throughout the play. I will describe Iago and Othello’s character, also how Iago poisons his mind and how Othello’s character changes throughout the play.
In the play we study the character of Iago and how he acts towards and around the other characters in the play. In the first scene we see that Iago is with Roderigo telling Brabantio about his daughter Desdemona. Within this scene we find out that Iago is a manipulating, jealous and convincing person. Although he does not convince people in a nice way, he does it.
He shows that he is jealous by the way he puts emphasis on his comments. When Iago is talking to Brabantio he insults Othello and uses a racist comment:’…
an old black ram is tupping your white ewe…’This is saying that Othello is the black ram and he is having sex with Desdemona the “white ewe” in this phrase.
He says this to make Brabantio really mad and hate Othello even more and it works.He also manipulates the other characters by using strong and powerful phases and comments. He tells Roderigo to call Brabantio and ‘poison his delight’ meaning destroy the one thing he really loves. He tries to control the other characters with sexual and dark imagery.
He tells Brabantio that’your daughter and the moor are now making the beast with two backs’This is a sexual image which is showing that Othello and Desdemona are both having sex.In the third scene of Act One Iago uses a soliloquy. He states to the audience that he will uses ‘double knavery’ against Othello, which means that he will hurt two people with a double sided plot. He will tell Othello untrue stories about Cassio (his lieutenant) and Desdemona.
Not only will this story hurt Othello but it will also hurt Cassio as no such thing has ever happened. Iago claims that this will be easy as he is a ‘free and open nature’, meaning that he has an easily believable mind.The main character in the story is Othello. Throughout this story we find out a lot about his character and status to people.
He is a very noble, honest, polite and patient person. This is gathered from when he has to address the judges and governor. He addresses the people by saying’my very noble and approved good masters’This is said in the beginning of his speech which states that he respects the people above him in authority. He is respected as he is the General of the Army.
When Brabantio and his guards go out to find Othello with knives, Othello tells them to wait and hear him out. The people all stop and listen as he is ‘top general’.Just because he is General of the Army he does not abuse his power. He could have started a battle with anyone at anytime for any reason but he does not.
When Brabantio accuses him of ‘thieving’ his daughter, meaning taking her without any sort of permission, he could have ordered him killed but instead he tries to reason with him and tries to understand his point of view.Brabantio also accuses him of witchcraft to get Desdemona but Othello loves her so much he claims he won her. He says in his speech’of my whole course of love, what drugs, what charms, what conjuration, and what mighty magic, for such proceedings am I charged withal, I won his daughter’.Othello tells the judges and governor that he was telling Desdemona about his life all the sadness and danger and that is how she fell in love with him.
Throughout the play we see how Iago poisons Othello’s mind. We see how Iago tortures Othello to make him go from a happy person who was happy to see his wife once he got back from Cyprus, to the person where he questions himself to why he married Desdemona in the first place.Iago uses the power of suggestion to twist the innocent actions of Cassio and Desdemona. In the beginning of Act 3 Scene 3 Iago brings to Othello’s attention that Cassio just left his wife.
Othello then asks why Cassio left his wife and Iago replies with’Cassio my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it, that he would sneak away so guilty-like, seeing you coming’.He is trying to ask Othello why he would leave Desdemona when he sees them coming unless they are hiding something.Iago uses Desdemona’s handkerchief to tell lies about Cassio. When Othello asks for ‘ocular proof’ of this actually happening, Iago tells him that he saw Cassio using Desdemona’s handkerchief and shows him the handkerchief.
Iago innocently repeats what Othello says or asks to pretend to be “‘ignorant”.Oth. Indeed? Indeed. Discern’st thou aught in that? Is he not honest?Iago Honest, my lord?Oth.
Honest? Ay, honest.He does this to make it seem like he does not know anything about Cassio or Desdemona.He also tells Othello:’look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio; wear your eye thus, not jealous, not secure..
.’He is telling Othello to watch his wife closely and how she reacts with Cassio, but do not make it obvious that he knows that something is going on between them. This reminds Othello of what Brabantio said to him about his daughter earlier (in Act 1 Scene 3);’Look to her, Moor, have a quick eye to see: she has deciev’d her father, and may do thee.’This is saying that Othello should not be afraid to look to Desdemona with disgust as she has deceived her father and she may do it to Othello as well.
As the story goes on, we see that Iago’s plot to poison Othello is starting to work. He says’O curse of marriage! That we can all these delicate creatures ours and not their appetites!’He is saying that even though you get married and have a wife they tend to forget that they can still flirt around. He also says’I had rather be a toad, and live upon the vapour of a dungeon, than keep a corner in the thing I love, for others’ use’which is saying that he would rather be a dirty animal than share his loved one with anyone else.Throughout the first three acts we see that Othello has changed dramatically.
He goes from a very happy man that ran off to get married, to a man that could not wait to see his wife after the battle, to a man that hates his wife from what he is hearing from Iago. His voice changes and you notice that he is becoming very aggressive and gives his wife dirty looks. Not only that, he starts to imagine the actual things that he is hearing.Iago tells another lie to Othello.
He tells him that one night due to a toothache he heard Cassio sleep talking. He tells Othello this”In sleep I heard him [Cassio] say ‘Sweet Desdemona, let us be wary lets us hide our loves’ and then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand, cry out ‘sweet creature!’ and then kiss me hard.”This is obviously not true.Compared to the Othello we were first introduced in earlier scenes, we notice that he changes drastically.
He uses a more aggressive tone when talking to Iago about Cassio and Desdemona. He begins to use foul language like “Damn her” like he does not care about her anymore. He also starts calling her a “lewd minx” which means dirty slut. You would not expect that from Othello as he was so polite and calm back in the first scene in Venice.
Looking back to Act 1 Scene 3, Othello is a very different person. He was very calm and humble but that all changes at the end. We see that he gets very emotional not only in his words but also in his actions. As the end of the play nears he starts to follow his passion rather than his judgement.
He uses single lined responses which is very unusual compared to the full polite sentences he used when speaking to the governor. He says phrases like;’I’ll tear her to pieces!’This is showing that he has so much hatred that he would kill her. He also says;’O, blood, blood, blood!’where he is trying to say that he would like to see blood from Desdemona after all this that is going on.As Iago is talking to Othello more, the relationship between them gets a lot stronger.
Othello believes everything Iago says and also begins to think that he is trustworthy, even more trustworthy than Cassio. The plan by Iago is obviously working as in the scenes to follow the image seems to look like Iago is controlling Othello.In the end we see that Othello becomes a murderer. He kills Desdemona and after he realises what he had done was wrong, he kills himself.
You see that at the end he becomes very upset and emotional, he starts to murmur to himself. He says’Lie with her, lie on her? – We say lie on her, when they belie he, – lie with her zounds, that’s fulsome!’Iago basically gets what he wants in the end. He got revenge on Othello and Cassio even though he used Desdemona to do it. This play basically show that revenge can happen in so many ways, just like Iago, you can twist the truth to make that person believe whatever you want them to.
It was a very interesting play.