William Shakespeare - Othello

Othello (c.1603) is a tragedy of a man who kills a person he loves. It is a story of a credulous fool whose honesty and openness make him an easy victim in the hands of his own servant, Iago the puppet-master. A Machiavellian figure, Iago enjoys life most when he can manipulate the lives of others from behind the scenes. A greasy smile and a deceptive mask, which he is endowed with, make others believe Iago is their only friend. The Moor is one of the victims who submissively dance to his piping whereas the “honest Iago” is only pulling the strings. Othello kills his wife because he believes that she has been unfaithful to him. What is more, he allows his servant to convince him that he is the ruler whose task is to mete out justice. Innocent, Desdemona goes to her death not even knowing what she is accused of.

The action in Scene 3 revolves around Iago and his web of intrigue. Iago is a jealous villain and yet he looks innocent and only appears to be honest. Although he is merely a servant he seems more powerful than the Moor himself. Iago acts like a god. He wants to be everywhere and know everything. He may even stay on stage all the time so as to “enjoy” the murder scene which his cunning plot has led to. Othello is a pawn in the clutches of Iago’s power and obediently does what he is ordered to do, naïvely believing that what he is told is true. Except for the murder scene when he is a powerful husband, Othello should rather be self-conscious and intimidated.

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