18 Feb What do we learn about Iago and his plans through his soliloquies in Shakespeare’s Othello? How does the descriptive language he uses effect our understanding of Iago and his motivations?? Answ
Discussion Question 2 Prompt
“What do we learn about Iago and his plans through his soliloquies in Shakespeare's Othello? How does the descriptive language he uses effect our understanding of Iago and his motivations?”
In Lago's soliloquy, the audience learns his true intent in manipulating Desdemona. He is planning on using her kind and helpful nature against her. By feeding lies about an affair between Cassio and Desdemona into Othello's ears, when Desdemona tries to help Cassio get his job back with Othello, Othello believes it is for other reasons. When it is simply because Desdemona is a kind lady. Lago's hatred for Othello is shown in his soliloquy by the fact that he is willing to swoop so low that he would manipulate Othello's own wife and friend against him. "what’s he then that says I play the villain" (Shakespeare) Lago does not believe that he is a villain because he is telling the truth. Lago goes into detail about how kind Desdemona is and how he plans on using it against her, in order to convince her husband of a false affair that she is having. His descriptive language shows him as very vindictive and evil. His plan is simply to get revenge on a man that he hates by using his wife and friend against him.
Shakespeare, William. "Othello" The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, edited by Michael Meyer and D Quentin Miller, 12th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s 2020 pg. 1062-1145
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From the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library Textual Introduction Synopsis Characters in the Play
ACT 1 Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3
ACT 2 Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3
Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4
ACT 4 Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3
ACT 5 Scene 1 Scene 2
Michael Witmore Director, Folger Shakespeare Library
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From the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library
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Other editorial decisions involve choices about whether an unfamiliar word could be understood in light of other writings of the period or whether it should be changed; decisions about words that made it into Shakespeare’s text by accident through four hundred years of printings and misprinting; and even decisions based on cultural preference and taste. When the Moby™ Text was created, for example, it was deemed “improper” and “indecent” for Miranda to chastise Caliban for having attempted to rape her. (See The Tempest, 1.2: “Abhorred slave,/Which any print of goodness wilt not take,/Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee…”). All Shakespeare editors at the time took the speech away from her and gave it to her father, Prospero.
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Textual Introduction By Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine
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In Venice, at the start of Othello, the soldier Iago announces his hatred for his commander, Othello, a Moor. Othello has promoted Cassio, not Iago, to be his lieutenant.
Iago crudely informs Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, that Othello and Desdemona have eloped. Before the Venetian Senate, Brabantio accuses Othello of bewitching Desdemona. The Senators wish to send Othello to Cyprus, which is under threat from Turkey. They bring Desdemona before them. She tells of her love for Othello, and the marriage stands. The Senate agrees to let her join Othello in Cyprus.
In Cyprus, Iago continues to plot against Othello and Cassio. He lures Cassio into a drunken fight, for which Cassio loses his new rank; Cassio, at Iago’s urging, then begs Desdemona to intervene. Iago uses this and other ploys—misinterpreted conversations, insinuations, and a lost handkerchief—to convince Othello that Desdemona and Cassio are lovers. Othello goes mad with jealousy and later smothers Desdemona on their marriage bed, only to learn of Iago’s treachery. He then kills himself.
OTHELLO, a Moorish general in the Venetian army DESDEMONA, a Venetian lady BRABANTIO, a Venetian senator, father to Desdemona
IAGO, Othello’s standard-bearer, or “ancient” EMILIA, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s attendant
CASSIO, Othello’s second-in-command, or lieutenant RODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman
Duke of Venice
MONTANO, an official in Cyprus BIANCA, a woman in Cyprus in love with Cassio Clown, a comic servant to Othello and Desdemona Gentlemen of Cyprus Sailors
Servants, Attendants, Officers, Messengers, Herald, Musicians, Torchbearers.
Characters in the Play
Venetian gentlemen, kinsmen to BrabantioLODOVICO GRATIANO
Enter Roderigo and Iago.
Tush, never tell me! I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this.
’Sblood, but you’ll not hear me! If ever I did dream of such a matter, Abhor me.
Thou toldst me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
Despise me If I do not. Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-capped to him; and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place. But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them with a bombast circumstance, Horribly stuffed with epithets of war, And in conclusion, Nonsuits my mediators. For “Certes,” says he, “I have already chose my officer.” And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damned in a fair wife,
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9 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1
That never set a squadron in the field, Nor the division of a battle knows More than a spinster—unless the bookish theoric, Wherein the togèd consuls can propose As masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had th’ election; And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds Christened and heathen, must be beleed and
calmed By debitor and creditor. This countercaster, He, in good time, must his lieutenant be, And I, God bless the mark, his Moorship’s ancient.
By heaven, I rather would have been his hangman.
Why, there’s no remedy. ’Tis the curse of service. Preferment goes by letter and affection, And not by old gradation, where each second Stood heir to th’ first. Now, sir, be judge yourself Whether I in any just term am affined To love the Moor.
I would not follow him, then.
O, sir, content you. I follow him to serve my turn upon him. We cannot all be masters, nor all masters Cannot be truly followed. You shall mark Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave That, doting on his own obsequious bondage, Wears out his time, much like his master’s ass, For naught but provender, and when he’s old,
cashiered. Whip me such honest knaves! Others there are Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves,
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11 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1
And, throwing but shows of service on their lords, Do well thrive by them; and when they have lined
their coats, Do themselves homage. These fellows have some
soul, And such a one do I profess myself. For, sir, It is as sure as you are Roderigo, Were I the Moor I would not be Iago. In following him, I follow but myself. Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, But seeming so for my peculiar end. For when my outward action doth demonstrate The native act and figure of my heart In complement extern, ’tis not long after But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve For daws to peck at. I am not what I am.
What a full fortune does the thick-lips owe If he can carry ’t thus!
Call up her father. Rouse him. Make after him, poison his delight, Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen, And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, Plague him with flies. Though that his joy be joy, Yet throw such chances of vexation on ’t As it may lose some color.
Here is her father’s house. I’ll call aloud.
Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell As when, by night and negligence, the fire Is spied in populous cities.
What ho, Brabantio! Signior Brabantio, ho!
Awake! What ho, Brabantio! Thieves, thieves!
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13 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1
Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves, thieves!
Enter Brabantio, above.
What is the reason of this terrible summons? What is the matter there?
Signior, is all your family within?
Are your doors locked?
Why, wherefore ask you this?
Zounds, sir, you’re robbed. For shame, put on your gown!
Your heart is burst. You have lost half your soul. Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise! Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you. Arise, I say!
What, have you lost your wits?
Most reverend signior, do you know my voice? Not I. What are you?
My name is Roderigo.
The worser welcome. I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors. In honest plainness thou hast heard me say My daughter is not for thee. And now in madness, Being full of supper and distemp’ring draughts, Upon malicious bravery dost thou come To start my quiet.
Sir, sir, sir— But thou must needs be sure
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15 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1
BRABANTIO IAGO BRABANTIO
My spirit and my place have in them power To make this bitter to thee.
Patience, good sir.
What tell’st thou me of robbing? This is Venice. My house is not a grange.
Most grave Brabantio, In simple and pure soul I come to you—
Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you. Because we come to do you service and you think we are ruffians, you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse, you’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll have coursers for cousins and jennets for germans.
What profane wretch art thou? I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter
and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.
Thou art a villain. You are a senator.
This thou shalt answer. I know thee, Roderigo.
Sir, I will answer anything. But I beseech you, If ’t be your pleasure and most wise consent— As partly I find it is—that your fair daughter, At this odd-even and dull watch o’ th’ night, Transported with no worse nor better guard But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier, To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor: If this be known to you, and your allowance, We then have done you bold and saucy wrongs. But if you know not this, my manners tell me We have your wrong rebuke. Do not believe That from the sense of all civility I thus would play and trifle with your Reverence.
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17 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1
He exits. IAGO
Your daughter, if you have not given her leave, I say again, hath made a gross revolt, Tying her duty, beauty, wit, and fortunes In an extravagant and wheeling stranger Of here and everywhere. Straight satisfy yourself. If she be in her chamber or your house, Let loose on me the justice of the state For thus deluding you.
Strike on the tinder, ho! Give me a taper. Call up all my people. This accident is not unlike my dream. Belief of it oppresses me already. Light, I say, light!
, to Roderigo Farewell, for I must leave you. It seems not meet nor wholesome to my place To be producted, as if I stay I shall, Against the Moor. For I do know the state, However this may gall him with some check, Cannot with safety cast him, for he’s embarked With such loud reason to the Cyprus wars, Which even now stands in act, that, for their souls, Another of his fathom they have none To lead their business. In which regard, Though I do hate him as I do hell pains, Yet, for necessity of present life, I must show out a flag and sign of love— Which is indeed but sign. That you shall surely find
him, Lead to the Sagittary the raisèd search, And there will I be with him. So, farewell.
Enter Brabantio in his nightgown, with Servants and Torches.
It is too true an evil. Gone she is, And what’s to come of my despisèd time
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19 Othello ACT 1. SC. 1
Is naught but bitterness.—Now, Roderigo, Where didst thou see her?—O, unhappy girl!— With the Moor, sayst thou?—Who would be a
father?— How didst thou know ’twas she?—O, she deceives
me Past thought!—What said she to you?—Get more
tapers. Raise all my kindred.—Are they married, think
you? Truly, I think they are.
O heaven! How got she out? O treason of the blood! Fathers, from hence trust not your daughters’ minds By what you see them act.—Is there not charms By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo, Of some such thing?
Yes, sir, I have indeed.
Call up my brother.—O, would you had had her!— Some one way, some another.—Do you know Where we may apprehend her and the Moor?
I think I can discover him, if you please To get good guard and go along with me.
Pray you lead on. At every house I’ll call. I may command at most.—Get weapons, ho! And raise some special officers of night .— On, good Roderigo. I will deserve your pains.
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21 Othello ACT 1. SC. 2
Enter Othello, Iago, Attendants, with Torches.
Though in the trade of war I have slain men, Yet do I hold it very stuff o’ th’ conscience To do no contrived murder. I lack iniquity Sometimes to do me service. Nine or ten times I had thought t’ have yerked him here under the
’Tis better as it is. Nay, but he prated
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms Against your Honor, That with the little godliness I have I did full hard forbear him. But I pray you, sir, Are you fast married? Be assured of this, That the magnifico is much beloved, And hath in his effect a voice potential As double as the Duke’s. He will divorce you Or put upon you what restraint or grievance The law (with all his might to enforce it on) Will give him cable.
Let him do his spite. My services which I have done the signiory Shall out-tongue his complaints. ’Tis yet to know (Which, when I know that boasting is an honor, I shall promulgate) I fetch my life and being From men of royal siege, and my demerits May speak unbonneted to as proud a fortune As this that I have reached. For know, Iago, But that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhousèd free condition Put into circumscription and confine For the sea’s worth. But look, what lights come
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23 Othello ACT 1. SC. 2
He exits. CASSIO IAGO
Those are the raisèd father and his friends. You were best go in.
Not I. I must be found. My parts, my title, and my perfect soul Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?
By Janus, I think no.
Enter Cassio, with Officers, and Torches.
The servants of the Duke and my lieutenant! The goodness of the night upon you, friends. What is the news?
The Duke does greet you, general, And he requires your haste-post-haste appearance, Even on the instant.
What is the matter, think you?
Something from Cyprus, as I may divine. It is a business of some heat. The galleys Have sent a dozen sequent messengers This very night at one another’s heels, And many of the Consuls, raised and met, Are at the Duke’s already. You have been hotly
called for. When, being not at your lodging to be found, The Senate hath sent about three several quests To search you out.
’Tis well I am found by you. I will but spend a word here in the house And go with you.
Ancient, what makes he here?
Faith, he tonight hath boarded a land carrack. If it prove lawful prize, he’s made forever.
I do not understand.
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