Othello - Act Five


Act Five, Scene One (pages 117-121)


Bianca the victim = Shakespeare uses Bianca to keep Desdemona in our minds in this scene. Bianca's love for Cassio is honest, but she suffers for it. Like Desdemona before her, she tries to defend herself, but fails to make her voice heard. Notice how Bianca's abuse & suffering mirrors Desdemona's downfall. Here Bianca is in danger because of her love for Cassio. By the end of the scene she is falsely suspected of being involved in a murder plot. It could be argued that love makes women helpless victims in 'Othello'. 

Othello the automaton = Othello is a little more than an automaton in this scene. Yet again, he is an onlooker who fails to see the truth. Ironically, it is a misunderstanding that spurs Othello on to his own act of violence. He believes "brave...honest and just" Iago has killed Cassio. Shakespeare is linking Othello's murder of Desdemona with Iago's cowardly wounding of Cassio. Othello doesn't take responsibility for his actions, claiming it is Desdemona's "unblest fate" that he is fulfillling. Othello's melodramatic speech style detracts from his heroism but also reminds us how completely his mind has been corrupted by Iago. 

Act Five, Scene Two (pages 121-132)


Love & Self-Love = While the constancy of the woman's love heightens the tragedy of Desdemona's death, the male characters do not emerge so well from this seen. Othello & Iago can both be accused of excessive self-love. Determined to preserve himself, Iago kills Emilia to silence her. His final lines are gloating & selfish, "Demand me nothing. What you know, you know./ From this time forth I never will speak word". Iago's


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