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Othello Close Reading - Fitzpatrick 1 Allison Fitzpatrick...

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FitzpatrickAllison FitzpatrickDr. Stephen KarianEnglish 4167: Shakespeare’s TragediesMay 7, 2015Rhetoric and Literary Techniques Behind Iago’s Manipulation in Shakespeare’sOthelloWilliam Shakespeare’sOthellois a tragic drama in which the main character,Othello, faces the horrific consequences of manipulation and deception. Othello, ageneral in the Venetian army, is given the opportunity to choose a Lieutenant to serve byhis side. Othello chooses fellow character, Cassio. Othello’s other right-hand man, Iago,becomes enraged and jealous because he wanted to be appointed the position. From thereon out, Iago commits to revenge himself against Othello and Cassio. As a way to obtainvengeance and authority, Iago formulates an attack against Othello and Cassio. Iago’smain source of dominance when manipulating and deceiving Othello comes from hisspecific and evil language. In act three scene three, Iago uses rhetorical devices andliterary techniques in order to manipulate Othello into believing his wife, Desdemona, ishaving an affair with Cassio. Throughout the scene, Iago transforms Othello into ajealous and enraged spouse. It is within the language and rhetoric that Iago uses thatunknowingly forms Othello’s suspicions. As the scene progresses, Othello become morereliant on Iago for his input. Unfortunately, Othello does not realize that his honest andloyal perception of Iago is wrong. It is not until it is too late that Othello is able torecognize the effect Iago’s manipulation and deceit had on him and Desdemona. In theend, Othello is unable to come to terms with his jealousy and rage against Desdemona,1
Fitzpatrickand ultimately he barbarically ends her life. Still, at that point, Iago uses language andrhetoric to empower myself over the rest of the characters.In the beginning of scene three Cassio comes to Desdemona in regards to hisposition as Lieutenant. Cassio explains his case to Desdemona and she assures him thatshe will speak with her husband on Cassio’s behalf. When Othello enters, Cassiobecomes uneasy with the situation and leaves the stage. When Desdemona harmlesslybrings up Cassio to Othello, she provokes Othello’s jealousy. After Othello tells her to lethim and Iago be, the two are left there to discuss Cassio privately. This is just the momentIago has been waiting for. He is now given the opportunity to deceive Othello. As Othelloquestions Cassio’s integrity to Iago,[Othello] O, yes, and went between us very oft./[Iago] Indeed?/[Othello] Indeed?Ay, indeed! Discern'st thou aught in that?/Is he honest?/[Iago] Honest, my lord?/[Othello] Honest? Ay, honest./ My lord, for aught I know (iii.iii.102-110)Iago sets the tone for his deception by answering with rhetorical questions. OxfordEnglish Dictionary states that a rhetorical question is just that, “designating a questionasked only to produce an effect or make a statement, rather than elicit an answer orinformation” (OED, rhetorical, adj, 2.4). Iago intentionally repeats Othello’s questions

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Irony, Shakespeare, College Essays, Othello, Rhetorical techniques, Iago

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