Othello Act 1, Scene 3

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Act 1, Scene 3 

Themes

Deceit 

  • There are many inconsistent reports of war throughout this scene - when will we have the full truth? - "Tis a pageant to keep us in false gaze." Pageant is a play. 

Race

  • "What she feared to look on." 

Characters

Duke

  • uses platitudes which appear to be rather empty - banal rhyming couplets. Proverbial wisdom, not his own. HEROIC COUPLETS

Iago

  • epithet of "honest Iago" first introduced here - Othello entrusts Desdemona to Iago, which turns out to be a great mistake. 
  • It becomes true, however, that as Coleridge said, Iago has a "motiveless malignity" 
  • "Iago music" is rather a colloquial turn of phrase, vageuly obscene, worm's eye view of human passion
  • "Ere I would say I would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen, I would my change my humanity with a babboon." Metaphor, whihc degrades Roderigo, bringing him down the Chain of Being. It also degrades Desdemona, as "guinea-hen" means "prostitute"
  • "blood" = seat of passion, Iago merges lust and love 
  • "Put money in thy purse" is almost hypnotising in its repetition
  • "The food that to him now is as luscious as locusts shall be to him shortly as acerbe as the coloquintida" - acerbe = sour; coloquintida = apples tree used as pergative drug 
  • Misogyny shown through the way he calls Desdemona a "super-subtle venitian" 
  • He makes his hatred of Roderigo clear in soliloquy: "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse", "such a snipe" (sibilance), "but for my sport and profit", 
  • He excels in "short-term tactics, not longterm strategy" A.C. Bradley - "How? How?" says Iago, hypophora gives the…

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