Othello Passage Analysis

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The given passage takes place during Act 2, Scene 1. The action of the play has moved from Venice to Cyprus, where it remains for the rest of the play. It is from this moment on that Othello’s ability as a leader and his marriage to Desdemona will be subjected to thorough testing. Prior to the chosen section of text, news has arrived that the Turkish fleet has been scattered in the storm, but that Othello’s lieutenant, Cassio, has safely arrived in Cyprus. However, at this point in the play Othello’s own safety remains in doubt. The conversation that takes place is seen as Desdemona trying to suppress her fears for her new husband’s safety by passing the time in light-hearted conversation with Iago, although the subject of their discussion, the characters of women, proves to be highly relevant to Iago’s plots later in the play. Iago cynically devalues women; he accuses them of hypocrisy, deception and wantonness. He accuses women of being blatant hussies and shows very little respect, especially towards his wife, Emilia.
Iago noticeably dominates this passage; his comments slip from general conversation to sharp, cynical comments with regards to women. The comments could be seen as blasé, not on closer inspection highlight an underlying emotion and drive. Iago is possibly one of Shakespeare’s most heinous villains due to his apparent lack of any motivation for his actions within the play. Perhaps it is because Iago never clearly voices his motivation that makes the character so shocking, he is willing to take revenge on anyone and he lacks any real moral judgement. Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo and even Emilia all fall victims to his ill will, sometimes down to the slightest provocation and the character obviously enjoys bringing pain and damage to those who fall foul of him. Iago’s lies are plausible, and there is a grain of truth in his evaluation of

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