Iago is a soldier who has fought beside Othello for several years, and has become his trusted advisor. He speaks very differently towards different people; for example when talking to Roderigo he presents hatred towards Othello, whereas when he is beside Othello, threatens Roderigo by raising his sword. Sly and cunning Iago uses language as his weapon by turning people against each other with a mere sentence. He deviously becomes Othello’s trusted servant, whereas in reality the audience know he has multi personalities; which is called dramatic irony.
Act 1, Scene 1, starts off with conflict between Iago and Roderigo, however in a matter of pages we see that Roderigo has warmed to Iago. Clever techniques of speech has been used by Iago to achieve this. Firstly, Iago uses racial language by calling Othello a “devil” and using animalistic imagery like “black ram” to compare Othello to a monster. He also uses sexual language to suggest that his love with Desdemona is dirty and disgusting, hiding the real truth. Act 2, Scene 2, is mainly set in Brabantio’s home, with Othello, Iago, Roderigo and Brabantio.
Othello appears to be calm, cool and composed which is in direct contrast with Iago who tries to pick a fight with Roderigo. He does this for one reason: to earn Othello’s trust. By insulting Roderigo, Othello truly believes Iago is on his side. Iago is a very complicated character, quite beautiful in fact. Shakespeare hides Iago’s true self which interests the audience and leaves them to question which person is Iago? It seems that Iago doesn’t really know who he is: “I am not what I am”.
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