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The Effects of Iago’s Meddling on Othello

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    Othello’s negative portrayal of himself as a man and Desdemona as a wife illustrates a downward trend in his both his trust of Desdemona and his self-confidence as a result of the schemes of Iago. Iago has been attempting to indoctrinate Othello with the belief that his wife, Desdemona, has been cheating on him with Cassio for some time but it is only recently that Othello has begun to doubt the fidelity of Desdemona. Just two scenes earlier, at the start of Act III, Othello told Iago that he did not believe Desdemona would ever be unfaithful and refused to postulate anymore about the matter unless further evidence was presented.

    Still basing his suspicion only on the words of Iago, Othello is now all but convinced of Desdemona’s perfidiousness. He speaks highly of Iago calling him a “fellow of exceeding honesty” while speaking of his relationship with Desdemona with disdain, referencing the “curse of marriage. ” Othello also uses falcon imagery to describe Desdemona’s suspected infidelity: “If I do prove her haggard, though that her jesses were my dear heartstrings, I’d whistle her off and let her down the wind To prey at fortune.

    His use of the word “prey” styles Desdemona as nothing more than a savage, feral beast; a description much different than his prior references of his wife. Othello also describes how he would not hesitate to “let her down the wind” if he ascertained Desdemona had been disloyal, another falcon metaphor that again designates Desdemona a bird of prey: a fiendish and deleterious huntress. Othello also demonstrates his doubts of his wife’s fidelity with declarative, potent words like “curse,” “plague,” “destiny unshunnable,” and “death” to describe marriage and women having affairs.

    At the end of his speech he uses yet another powerful verb, “Even then this forked plague is fated to us when we do quicken. ” His use of such powerful language throughout the speech is yet another indication of his loss of trust in Desdemona’s purity. In addition to a growing absence of faith in Desdemona, Othello also expresses a newfound lack of self-confidence. Prior to the meddling on Iago, Othello was a confident man in his own unpretentious way. In Act 1, Othello explained to the senators that he did not consider himself an accomplished speaker: “Rude am I in my speech, And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace.

    This is an example of understatement because following those lines Othello delivered a convincing oration to the senate. Subsequent to Iago’s interferences, Othello says that one explanation for Desdemona being unfaithful to him is his rude speech and inability to fit in with others of her social standing. In this latter instance, he is not understating his abilities for dramatic effect; he really believes he is a poor orator. He describes his inadequate speech saying he “[has] not those soft parts of conversation that chamberers have. Another way Othello shows the reader his recent lack of confidence is through his lamenting of his advanced age saying “for I am declined into the vale of years. ” Preceding Iago telling him about Desdemona, Othello’s age has been an advantage for him: it has been presented throughout the play as the source of his wisdom. However, after Iago has planted the seeds of doubt regarding Desdemona’s faithfulness, Othello cannot help but think he is a lesser man. Othello even identifies his skin color as a reason for Desdemona to be unsatisfied with him. Othello also utilises animal metaphors to describe himself.

    Because Desdemona was unfaithful to him, Othello feels as though he is even less than a toad, saying “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. ” In conclusion, it is evident in this speech was an effect the meddling’s of Iago has had on Othello in both his trust of his wife and his own self-confidence. The speech also foreshadows a grim end to Othello and Desdemona’s marriage when, as mentioned above, he states he would rather be a toad in prison than continue his relationship.

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