Power Of Words In Othello

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C. Janse van Rensburg 25018175
Assignment 8: The power of words in “Othello”
”Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs” (Hurd, s.a.).
Shakespeare uses different techniques in “Othello” to express the way in which the power of words can have a negative effect on different characters. With reference to “Othello”, the way in which Shakespeare incorporates these techniques, namely words as a form of power, words as a way to shape characters’ identities, and the use of words to communicate with the audience, will critically be discussed in terms of different characters’ actions and their choice of words.
According to DeLuca (2015) words can be a powerful tool when it is used for deception. The first technique that
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Once again Iago is the main character that Shakespeare uses to express this powerful tool. The first character that Iago manipulates for his own benefit is Roderigo. He constantly makes use of perfectly planned conversations and the promise of Desdemona’s affection in an attempt to mislead Roderigo into doing whatever he says “When she is sated with his body, she will find the error of her choice” (Shakespeare, 2001:29). The effect of this manipulation is that Iago succeeds in tricking Cassio with Roderigo’s help. The second character that Iago manipulates is Cassio. He is aware of the friendship between Cassio and Desdemona and uses this knowledge to persuade Cassio into pleading his case to Desdemona. The effect of this manipulation is that he uses this opportunity to frame Cassio and Desdemona for having an affair. The last character that Iago manipulates is Othello. He is constantly using his insecurities, like a low self-esteem and the fear of rejection, against him in an attempt to control his actions “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy” (Shakespeare, 2001:84). The effect this manipulation is that Iago succeeds in planting the seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind by only hinting at Desdemona’s possible betrayal “Ha! I like not that” (Shakespeare, …show more content…
Different characters in “Othello” make use of soliloquys as a way to create certain emotions in the audience or to create a specific atmosphere. The first character that uses a soliloquy is Iago. By talking directly to the audience, he is able to communicate his plans and motives. The audience is then forced to become part of the action. When the audience is involved, Shakespeare is able to create hate in the audience for this specific character. Shakespeare also uses soliloquys in “Othello” as a way to communicate a character’s inner thoughts to the audience. When Emilia talks directly to the audience about why she is taking the handkerchief, she creates an atmosphere of tension as well as a feeling of

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