Cassio, the Lieutenant, in Othello

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Cassio, the Lieutenant, in Othello Michael Cassio, the lieutenant who supposedly stole away Iago’s coveted promotion in Shakespeare’s Othello, is a strange sort of character. He shows great appreciation of other people; he is radiant with truth and honor; and yet he patronizes a prostitute, Bianca. This essay will delve into the character of Cassio. Blanche Coles in Shakespeare’s Four Giants comments on the character of Cassio: In a casual reading of Othello, it may seem that the character of Cassio is not sufficiently well drawn, because, for reasons connected with his portrayal of Iago, Shakespeare delays the full characterization of Cassio until almost the end of the play. However, we have a number of brief revelations of his personality that mark him distinctly – in his genuine anxiety for Othello’s safety, in his abstaining from taking part in the bold and suggestive comments of Iago to the two women as they wait for Othello’s ship and, a little later, in his sincere regret about the loss of his reputation after he has partaken of the wine which Iago has forced upon him. (85-86) Cassio makes his first appearance in the play in Act 1 Scene 2, when he is conducting the official business of the duke of Venice, namely the request of the “haste-post-haste appearance / Even on the instant” of the general because of the Ottoman threat on Cyprus. Brabantio’s mob briefly delays matters, and then Cassio disappears from the stage until Act 2. He disembarks in Cyprus and graciously announces: “Thanks, you the valiant of this warlike isle, / That so approve the Moor!” After chatting with Montano and other gentlemen of the isle, he welcomes Desdemona, “our great captain’s captain,” ashore: “The ric... ... middle of paper ... ...s corpse produces a letter which “imports the death of Cassio to be undertook / By Roderigo” – another emotional revelation for Michael Cassio. Finally, the ultimate emotional blow to the ex-officer comes when Othello stabs himself and dies: “This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon; / For he was great of heart.” As “lord governor” of the island of Cyprus now, Michael Cassio has charge of the “censure of this hellish villain, / The time, the place, the torture.” Lodovico appeals to Cassio to let his justice, not his mercy prevail: “O, enforce it!” WORKS CITED Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos. Coles, Blanche. Shakespeare’s Four Giants. Rindge, New Hampshire: Richard Smith Publisher, 1957.
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