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Unformatted text preview: Act I, scene i: Summary: Othello begins in the city of Venice, at night; Roderigo is having a discussion with Iago , who is bitter at being passed up as Othello's lieutenant. Though Iago had greater practice in battle and in military matters, Cassio , a man of strategy but of little experience, was named lieutenant by Othello. Iago says that he only serves Othello to further himself, and makes shows of his allegiance only for his own gain; he is playing false, and admits that his nature is not at all what it seems. Iago is aware that the daughter of Brabantio , a Venetian nobleman of some stature, has run off with Othello, the black warrior of the Moors. Desdemona is Brabantio's daughter, and Brabantio, and many others, know nothing of this coupling; Iago decides to enlist Roderigo, who lusts after Desdemona, and awaken Brabantio with screams that his daughter is gone. At first, Brabantio dismisses these cries in the dark; but when he realizes his daughter is not there, he gives the news some credence. Roderigo is the one speaking most to Brabantio, but Iago is there too, hidden, yelling unsavory things about Othello and his intentions toward Desdemona. Brabantio panics, and calls for people to try and find his daughter; Iago leaves, not wanting anyone to find out that he betrayed his own leader, and Brabantio begins to search for his daughter. Analysis: The relationship between Roderigo and Iago is obviously somewhat close, as Roderigo shows in his first statement. Iago "hast had [Roderigo's] purse as if the strings were thine," he tells Iago; the metaphor shows how much trust Roderigo has in Iago, and also how he uses Iago as a confidante (I.i.2-3). Does Iago share the same kind of feeling? As far as Roderigo knows, Iago is his friend; but appearance is one thing and reality another, as Iago soon will tell. Iago tells several truths about himself to Roderigo; he even trusts Roderigo with the knowledge that Iago serves Othello, but only to further himself. How ironic that after Iago's lengthy confession of duplicity, Roderigo still does not suspect him of doublecrossing or manipulation. Iago seems to do a great deal of character analysis and exposition for the audience; here, he divulges his purpose in serving Othello, and the kind of man he is. Appearance vs. reality is a crucial theme in Iago's story; throughout the play, he enacts a series of roles, from advisor to confidante, and appears to be helping people though he is only acting out of his twisted self-interest. "These fellows" that flatter for their own purposes "have some soul," Iago says; there is a double irony in...
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2009 for the course LANG 071265836 taught by Professor Solana during the Spring '09 term at Air Force Institute of Technology, Ohio.
- Spring '09