The two passages below from Shakespeare’s Othello describe Iago’s manipulation of Othello and his marriage along with the feelings of pain and confusion Desdemona experiences from the effects of this manipulation. The tragedy of Othello is evident in the way he treats his wife in reaction by Iago’s manipulation and eventual drive to kill Desdemona.
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 handkerchief in Cassio’s possession,
and will let him find it. Jealousy is quick in action when it
is backed up by proof, this may work. My lord changes with my corruption/manipulation.
Pride, in its nature, is poison. When it is exposed and when there is even little action taken to
take advantage of this pride, the individual will be destroyed.
Look, he comes now.
At this point in the play, Iago and Othello are talking about Desdemona and Cassio. Iago essentially swears to show Othello that there is proof that is deception and deceit in the eyes of Desdemona. Othello hides as Cassio meets with Iago. Iago speaks with Cassio and then another made comes down to meet Cassio and presents a handkerchief to Cassio. Othello sees this and further makes his concern about Desdemona cheating even more true.
There is a very interesting correlation in the way Iago delivers his lines. The words portray many double meanings and contain aspects of allusion which paint Iago’s language as evasive or not direct. However, it is clear that Iago is being manipulative throughout the whole play. The often confusing yet elegantly poetic way Iago addresses the audience/readers emulates his confusing and cleaver way of causing confusion and distress to the characters around him.
O good Iago,
What shall I do to win my lord again?
Good friend, go to him; for, by this light of heaven,
I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel:
If e’er my will did trespass ‘gainst his love,
Either in discourse of thought or actual deed,
Or that mine eyes, mine ears, or any sense,
Delighted them in any other form;
Or that I do not yet, and ever did.
And ever will–though he do shake me off
To beggarly divorcement–love him dearly,
Comfort forswear me!
Oh good Iago, what can I do to win my lord back? Good friend, please go to him, by god, I know I lost him.
I am here begging: If I ever did trespass against his love, action or thought, or with my eyes, ears, or sense.
Made my love to something else in any other form, or may do in the future or ever did. I will always—
though he does not believe—love him very much, please tell me otherwise!
In this part of the play, the majority of the characters are in the court or in a main setting. When Othello enters the room, Desdemona greets him with a happy manor, however, Othello dismisses her and becomes very passive. After some discourse, Othello leaves, and Desdemona expresses her concern to Iago begging and pleading for him to tell her what is going on. She becomes distressed and ultimately depressed by experiencing such an aspect of unpleasantness from her husband, Othello.
The language associated with Desdemona is clear, concise and meaningful. Her naive nature and pure soul definitely provides a great comparison with the way her lines are delivered to the audience/readers; clear, pure, and innocent.