Hello, my name is Mariah and I am currently reading Shakespeare’s play called Othello. I was assigned to pick a quote written from the play and give my own in-depth analysis. Here are the two I have chosen to do.

Quote #1

Iago told Othello to hide so that he may speak to Cassio. He would be close enough to see both Cassio and Iago talk to each other but still far enough so he wouldn’t be able to listen in on the conversation. This is where Iago goes to talk to Cassio about Bianca, knowing that Cassio would become flustered and would laugh and smile just at the mention of her name. This works out in this situation so that he could manipulate Othello into thinking they were talking about Desdemona.

[IAGO]: As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad; / And his unbookish jealousy must construe / Poor Cassio’s smile, gestures, and light behavior, / Quite in the wrong. (Act 4, Scene 1; Lines 114-117)

When Iago said “as he shall smile, Othello shall go mad”, this tells the reader that he will have Cassio seem happy about the conversation they are having, and Othello will get angry. This is because Iago was talking about Bianca to Cassio, which he knew Cassio would become flustered whenever she were to be mentioned. They are far away enough from Othello that he wouldn’t know what they’re really talking about, making Othello think they are talking about Desdemona, making this become appearance versus reality. The word “unbookish” means ignorant, which makes what Iago’s statement true because Othello ignored the fact that he could go up to Cassio and question him himself but instead chose to trust Iago, which was quite in the wrong.

Quote #2

Desdemona is talking with Cassio about him getting his position back and getting back in good terms with Othello. Desdemona promises to speak with Othello about the situation into getting his job back, which Cassio is very grateful for. He leaves and in comes Othello and Iago. Othello questions to Iago who was with Desdemona, and learns that it was Cassio. Desdemona sees the two men and goes up to them.

[DESD]: Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord, / If I have any grace or power to move you, / His present reconciliation take; / For if he be not one that truly loves you, / That errs in ignorance and not in cunning, / I have no judgement in an honest face: / I prithee, call him back. (Act 3, Scene 3; Lines 49-55)

Shakespeare made Desdemona say “If I have any grace or power to move you”, making it so she was trying to help Cassio by using power she has to convince Othello that Cassio is a good man. It could also mean that she might not have any power at all, and could only try to convince Othello to give back Cassio’s job by using love as an advantage since Othello loves her so much. When Desdemona says “for if he be not one that truly loves you”, it would mean that Cassio is the only one that truly trusts and respects Othello, that he loves him as a leader so much that he would go to the extreme for him. This is the reality of the situation, unlike Iago where he wants to manipulate Othello to become lieutenant by appearing as the good guy who follows Othello’s every order. Also when Desdemona says “I have no judgement in an honest face” it could mean that she is too trustworthy. Like with the situation with Iago, it may appear that he has an “honest face” and seems to respect Othello, but the reality is that he despises Othello and wants to get rid of Cassio, along with Desdemona so he could simply become lieutenant.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Shakespeare’s Language and Analysis by Mariah is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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