How Does Iago Use Symbolism In Othello

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William Penn once said, “Only trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.” If Othello, the protagonist of Othello had followed this cynical attitude many lives would have been saved. In Othello, William Shakespeare tells the tragic story of Othello who is led to his downfall because of his confidante’s deception. Shakespeare effectively utilizes symbolism, asides, imagery and characterization to demonstrate the effect of Iago’s lies in the ruination of Othello. Shakespeare excellently uses symbolism in this drama. The first example is Desdemona’s handkerchief. It symbolizes the love between Othello and Desdemona. The handkerchief was Othello’s “first gift” (3.3) to Desdemona; therefore, it was precious to both of them. Othello tells…show more content…
Most of the asides are used by Iago, which creates dramatic irony. Iago announces he will “abuse Othello’s ear [by saying that Cassio] is too familiar with his wife” (1.3). This displays how Iago plans on using innocent Cassio to cause Othello’s downfall. The aside convinces the readers that Desdemona is innocent and that her infidelity was part of Iago’s scheme. Later, Iago declares that he will “set down the pegs that make this music” (2.1). He is saying that he will make sure that the merriment they experience will not last. He achieves this through dishonesty. Iago declares that “whether he kill Cassio, or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, everyway makes my gain” (5.1). This proves how sly he is and how indifferent he is to the fact that innocent people could die because of his plot. Then Othello says “she must die, else she’ll betray more men” (5.2). Through this aside readers are told that Othello’s intention in going to her room is to murder her. It shows how significantly he was affected by Iago’s…show more content…
Iago tells Roderigo to “poison [Brabantio’s] delight […] incense [Desdemona’s] kinsmen, and though he may be in a fertile climate dwell, plague him with flies” (1.1). This sensory imagery shows how uncomfortable Iago thinks Desdemona’s relatives will feel hearing that she married Othello. This is also the scene were Iago first works against Othello by informing Desdemona’s father that Othello had married Desdemona. Iago also says “with as little web as this will I ensnare a great fly as Cassio” (2.1). Through this simile, Shakespeare creates the image of Iago as a spider and Cassio as a fly that is about to become the prey to the spider. Cassio becomes a victim because of Iago’s lie that Cassio was having a romantic relationship with Othello’s wife. Othello cries “farewell the neighboring steed and the shrill trump, the spirit-stirring drum, the ear- piercing fife, the royal banner and all quality” (3.3). By describing some of the things related to war and the military Shakespeare emphasizes how Othello can no longer care for such things because hurting Cassio and Desdemona is his main

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