Othello - Act Three


Act Three, Scene One & Scene Two (pages 75-77) 


The very short scene (scene 2) encapsulates one of Iago's key methods of manipulation. Iago presents himself as a faithful & helpful servant. He speaks respectfully to Othello, calling him "my good lord" and doing taks for Othello while he deaks with military matters. 

Act Three, Scene Three (pages 77-91)

key quotations: 

{Emilia} "I nothing but to please his fantasy" = believes her role is to serve Iago and obey him - shows a womans position in society 

{Iago} "look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio...she did deceive her father, marrying you." = Iago is being a reluctant witness by firstly avoiding the conversation, he now directly tells Othello and says Desdemona will decieve him if she did it to her father - planting a seed of jealously in Othello's head. 

{Iago} "comes from my love." = Tells Othello he is only telling him the 'truth' out of love but the audience knows that isn't true - dramatic irony 

{Othello} "though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings." = Othello's speech shows women are property of men but cannot always be tamed. Animalistic imagery, idea of Desdemona being tassled to Othello & needs taming. 

{Othello} "I'll tear her all to pieces!" = Becomes savage & malicious like Iago describes him in act one scene one. 

{Iago} "I am your own forever." = marriage of Othello & Iago's minds 


A False Love = The ritual that closes this scene shows that Iago's false 'love' has triumphed. Othello and Iago kneel and join together in the "bloody business" of revenge. Iago swears allegiance to "wronged Othello's service" in a parody of the wedding vow Desdemona made to Othello. There is a horrible irony here. Othello is now united with his enemy, as we know from his words to Iago, "I am bound to thee for ever". When Othello begins to discuss killing Desdemona, we know that the first battle in the war for his mind has been worn. 

Stucture & Pace = This is a long scene but on stage it moves swiftly. The pace suits Iago. He needs his poison to work. The pace and structure create a sense of claustrophobia: Othello enters and exits twice, but wherever he turns, he cannot escape Iago's foul words and and his own foul thoughts. The way in which the dialogue is structured is significant. During most of the scene there is one-to-one dialogue between Othello and Iago, and Iago comes to dominate: he speaks more words and has more turns than Othello. We will notice how Iago and Othello finish each other's lines, showing that Othello is moving closer to Iago and away from Desdemona. Notice how the structure of this scene mirros the structure of Act II Scene 3. In the earlier scene Iago used Roderigo as his stooge. Here the 'fall guy' is Desdemona. Rodgerio was physically hurt. In this scene, Desdemona's reputation is wounded. Look


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