Iago 3.3.368-378


I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin,

And let him find it. Trifles light as air

Are to the jealous confirmations strong

As proofs of holy writ: this may do something.

The Moor already changes with my poison:

Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.

Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,

But with a little act upon the blood.

Burn like the mines of Sulphur. I did say so:

Look, where he comes!



I will hide this napkin in Cassio’s house

And let him find it. To a jealous man, a thing like this

Is proof that Desdemona cheated. This napkin may help me

Othello’s mind has already been affected

With evil thoughts from my suggestion

Ideas can be like poison  

At first it doesn’t taste so bad

But once they get in your blood

they could burn like lava.


Iago is planning to hide the handkerchief in Cassio’s house. The handkerchief is so important because it was a gift from Othello to his wife Desdemona. The handkerchief was given down from his parents and is important to him. Iago believes that if Othello finds the handkerchief in Cassio’s house it will prove that Desdemona is cheating. Othello will soon become jealous, “are to the jealous confirmations strong” (3.3.370), and will soon become angry with his wife and Cassio. Iago uses a metaphor describing how Othello thoughts could be seen as poisonous. At first he has a strong heart, and won’t feel jealous about situations such as Cassio and Desdemona hanging out but with time, Othello will soon get angry, and he will start feeling a pain he has never felt before.





Soft you; a word or two before you go.

I have done the state some service, and they know’t.

No more of that. I pray you, in your letters,

When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,

Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,

Nor set down aught in malice: then must you speak

Of one that loved not wisely but too well;

Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought

Perplex’d in the extreme.



Hey you, I need to talk to you before you leave

I have help the state, and they know the good I’ve done

But enough about that. Describe your letter

When you record these sad events,

Please describe me as I am, nothing less serious or more forgivable

Don’t tone things down or exaggerate them out of hostility

I loved but I was not wise about it

I was easily made jealous

I work myself into a frenzy


Othello has decided to kill Desdemona because Othello thinks she has been disloyal. Iago has been telling Othello that Desdemona has been cheating on Othello with Cassio. Iago was able to prove it with the handkerchief that Othello gave to Desdemona. Othello was able to find the handkerchief in Cassio’s house which he assume that Desdemona was cheating. Soon after desdemona death, Othello was able to find out the truth and was sorry. Othello then gave a siloquiy after he learned that Iago had led him to believe that Desdemona did cheat. The speech, he gave is him trying to reconcile what he did, “speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate” (5.2.402). After delivering his speech, he kills himself. The speech he gave expressed how he usually doesn’t act like this, and allowed Iago to control his feelings. This is significant because it shows that jealousy could lead to death.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Close Reading: Othello by Christopher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account