Dramatic Irony In Othello Act 3

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In Act Three of Othello by William Shakespeare, Iago begins the second part of his plan to destroy those who wronged him. To those around him, Iago seems harmless because we associate evil with an evil appearance. In this story, Iago looks just the same as every other soldier. His evil is not recognizable, and he can easily act with deceit. The entirety of the plot is built upon miscommunication, distrust, and especially lies, and Iago uses those to his advantage. The exchange between Iago and Othello in Act Three, scene three, lines 486-546, reveals the power that Iago has over the entire situation. Othello begins by having a “shrewd doubt” (III.3.487) about Cassio’s character because Iago had a dream about Cassio’s vulgar actions when they …show more content…
The audience who watched this play from the beginning know of Iago’s evil plot to cause as much hurt as possible, watch the same character pretend to be on the side of Othello. After Othello makes a “sacred vow” (523) to create a “capable and wide revenge/ [to swallow Cassio and Desdemona] up,” he kneels in front of Iago (520-521). The vulnerable main character of this play now bows down to evil, symbolizing the fall of Othello. It is upsetting that Othello trusts so much the man who wants to ruin him and his family and friends. He tells Othello, “do not rise yet,” and Iago kneels down as well (525). He is a character who will very literally bring others to his level of evil. Othello tells Iago that “[he greets his] love/ Not with vain thanks but with acceptance bounteous,” accepting Iago’s false devotion eagerly (533-534). The audience knows the evil that Iago represents, but the onstage characters do not. The conflict between Iago and the audience serves to characterize Iago: the words that Iago says have a different meaning because the viewers know the truth. So, when Iago says that he is “[Othello’s] own for ever,” it is a lie (546). He is too effective at hiding his lies from the rest of the characters. There is no more sympathy that the audience can feel for this character, because of just how often he lies even while seeing the

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