Dr. I Final- Othello Flashcard Example #96831

Shakespeare presents the world of Venice as very racist and patriarchal because women and black people were seen as inferior to white men. This is demonstrated by Iago and Roderigo and how they describe Othello and as if Desdemona would have not had a say in their marriage because she’s a women, which also links to Brabanito reaction to Desdemona marrying Othello because he says is must be a type of magic that Othello has used. Because Desdemona is a girl, they think she is incapable of making decisions for herself like this therefore see it must be a form of magic and that’s how Brabanito justifies it to himself too. He doesn’t like the idea of his daughter marrying a ‘Moor’.
Iago appears to be a very manipulative person because he’s taking all of Roderigo’s money and making out to him as if he’s working for him when in actual fact he’s not using the money for what he says he will and he’s not working for Roderigo because he actually likes Othello, but lies to Roderigo and says he hates him because he knows Roderigo wants to be with Desdemona so Roderigo also hates Othello. Iago holds all the power in his relationship with Roderigo because he is able to manipulate him so easily into doing what he wants him to do and getting him to believe what ever he wants him to so that things will be better in his own situation.
Iago uses language to suggest the type of character he his e.g. ‘poison’ whereas Othello uses more gentle language which demonstrates he’s not a nasty character. The significance of this difference could be to show how the play ends when we realise what Iago is really like and when Othello realises the mistake he has made by listening to Iago which demonstrates that Iago is almost poisonous for what he has done and Othello is not actually a nasty man, because although he kills Desdemona, he realises in the end that he was wrong and regrets it.
Cassio is the type of man that thinks reputation is important. He is also innocent and friendly, as well as his intentions, which makes Iago’s first attempt to ruin him a failure. However, Iago successfully ruins Cassio because of his drinking problem
We learn that he isn’t a good man. He seeks revenge towards Othello because he assumes that Othello slept with Emilia. Iago is also furious with Cassio because Othello promotes him to lieutenant and not himself. We can also tell that he is the type of character who will manipulate the future events in order to get his way. The end to Iago’s first revelation of his plan lets the audience know that he is no saint; Iago will ruin Othello’s “peace and quiet” until he is “even to madness”. He also reveals to us that a mischievous person is “never” revealed “till used”, informing us that soon, his peers may be introduced to his true self. Iago’s choice in language contributes to Shakespeare’s image of him because Iago has a way of manipulating words and twisting them.
Iago’s character/personality is, in fact, a manipulative, lying individual, therefore tying both his language and personality, is what makes Iago what Shakespeare wanted him to be: a very good liar.
Iago makes Othello believe that Desdemona is unfaithful to him and that she is cheating on him with Cassio. In order to plant the idea of her cheating on him he tells him that he should watch them more carefully when they meet. Except Othello doesn’t fully believe him, since he has no proof. So, Iago starts to tell him about how Cassio talking in his sleep. Iago tells Othello how Desdemona leans in to kiss Cassio, and how she puts her legs on his thigh, which makes Othello think that they did sleep together. Iago creates an image in Othello’s mind that only infuriates him and makes him think that Desdemona is disloyal towards him which causes Othello to no longer have respect for her. However, Iago uses reverse psychology and flattery on Othello. By taking back his assumptions and questioning his accusations, Othello falls deeper into his trap. He uses flattery to assure Othello that he is an honest man that Othello respects. Iago uses Othello’s fatal flaw, jealousy, to trigger Othello’s anger and hatred towards Cassio and Desdemona, but also acts like an innocent man to manipulate Othello to get what he wants.
Emilia is Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s assistant. She’s a very cynic and experienced woman, who has a very close relationship with her mistress, Desdemona. On the other hand, with her husband, their relationship is like a “marriage made in hell”. Iago always disrespects her and doesn’t show any affection towards her, but she still tries to please him any way, like being able to obtain Desdemona’s handkerchief for him. Although he only uses her to get what he wants, he doesn’t show her any respect. Emilia asks him what the purpose of the handkerchief is, but he ignores her and orders her to leave. Women at the time have no say and were just objects to men, and so Emilia obeys him and does not ask any further questions.
In Act IV the handkerchief is used by Iago to almost represent Desdemona. Because this handkerchief is so important to Othello, it is the perfect thing to use to symbolize Desdemona’s love. In Act IV, the handkerchief falls to the ground and Iago picks it up; this is showing that love is lost and that now Iago is in control of manipulating Othello’s feelings. Why is the handkerchief so important to Othello? The handkerchief represents Othello’s love for Desdemona. It was the first thing that he gave to her. Also, Othello believes that it was woven 200 years ago by a female prophet who used sacred worms for the silk and dye that was taken from the hearts of dead virgins. This handkerchief was very important to Othello because his mother use it to keep his father faithful. This almost shows foreshadowing because the whole problem is Desdemona not being faithful to Othello and the main evidence being the handkerchief.
Othello begins to change. Iago’s manipulative plan begins to effect the choices Othello makes. Othello almost starts to test Desdemona; asking her questions about Cassio and watching her reactions very closely. Othello has completely changed from a lovestruck Romeo to this man filed with rage. What is the effect on his public humiliation of Desdemona by slapping her? This act of rage shows that Othello has almost completely lost it. Iago’s infectiousness ideas have poisoned Othello’s mind. He is so angered. He is so angered that she would do something like that, that he can’t even control his anger.
The relationship between them is very much like one of two friends rather than between an assistant and her mistress. They have almost a womanly connection and can confide and trust in each other. In 4.3 we learn that Emilia and Desdemona really tell each other their feelings and can truly trust each other. When they are alone talking, Emilia admits to Desdemona that she would in fact cheat on Iago at this point in the play.
Othello still loves Desdemona, and does not want to see her slaughtered so he decides to smother her. Othello believes by killing her in this manner and by letting her repent her “sins” he is saving her soul and sending her to heaven.
Emilia is the only other female in the play, besides Bianca, which means that the relationship between Desdemona and Emilia is really strong. She now stands up to Othello because she is Desdemona’s best friend and if she had not done it, no one would have.
Othello tries to justify his act by telling Emilia that “Desdemona tuned to folly, and she was a hoe.” In Othello’s last long speech, he is asking for forgiveness before he dies when he realizes he has made the mistake of killing his true love
Iago’s ultimate goal is to get revenge for Othello’s choice of lieutenant and to pay Othello back for sleeping with his wife. Iago is committed to destroying Desdemona. He realizes this is the most effective way to get back at Othello. In this way Iago is successful.

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