Iagos proofs also rely on the animal imagery which

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Iago's "proofs" also rely on the animal imagery which has run throughout the play he makes Desdemona and Cassio seem like lustful lovers, by describing them as "prime as goats, as hot as monkeys" (400). This comparison is calculated, since Iago knows that thinking of Desdemona as lusting after another man disturbs Othello greatly. 167
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Analysis: Handkerchief The handkerchief, the most crucial symbol and object in the play. The handkerchief, to Desdemona, symbolizes Othello's love, since it was his first gift to her. Othello thinks that the handkerchief, quite literally, is Desdemona's love When she has lost it, that must clearly mean that she does not love him any longer. The handkerchief also becomes a symbol of Desdemona's alleged betrayal 168
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Analysis: Proof "Proof" is a key word in this scene Othello demands that Iago prove Desdemona unfaithful by actually seeing evidence of her guilt. Iago manages to work around this completely; he plays off of Othello's jealousy, telling him stories that damn Cassio and mention the handkerchief Othello trusts Iago's words to convey proof, and is thwarted by Iago's dishonesty Othello only realizes later that he has been tricked and has seen no proof, when it is too late for him to take his actions back. 169
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Analysis: Language This act represents the beginning of Othello's giving up language From this point forward, notice how Othello's use of imagery and story become less and less frequent, and how he begins to rely upon Iago for speech and explanation. Othello is reduced by Iago and his own jealousy to single lines of speech, monosyllabic utterings of "O!" and the like. And just as language is the power with which Othello was able to woo Desdemona, his loss of it is a resignation of this power which attracted her to him. Othello suspects his wife's language, and Cassio's as well; he is distracted from suspicion of Iago Othello begins to lose his power over himself, and over others, when he loses his beautiful language This resignation marks a huge shift in the balance of power between Othello and Iago Iago becomes more dominant in the relationship, and begins to steer Othello. 170
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Analysis: Chaos vs. Order In the battle between order and chaos, chaos seems to be winning out. Othello abandons his reason in judging Iago's "proofs," and his abandonment of language also marks a descent into chaos. Although it is a chaos controlled by Iago, order and reason are on the losing side Raging emotions and speculations begin to rule Othello's fate, as he comes closer and closer to his tragic end. 171
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Act III Scene 4 Desdemona asks the clown where Cassio is; the clown goes off to fetch him. Desdemona is looking everywhere for the handkerchief, very sorry to have lost it; she knows that her losing it will upset Othello greatly Othello enters, and asks for Desdemona's handkerchief; she admits that she does not have it, and then Othello tells her of its significance and alleged magical powers.
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Christopher Reinemann
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