The Good Injustice In William Shakespeare's Othello

1116 Words 5 Pages
In act two, scene three, Iago has just seen another piece of his plot against Othello fall into place. After arranging Cassio 's termination, Iago has the gall to give the other man advice on how to re-enter Othello 's good graces. Iago utilizes misogynistic and racist imagery and attempts to trap the audience in his web of deception.
This scene holds great importance to the narrative of Othello because, once again, Shakespeare forces the audience into Iago’s perspective without offering any clarity to the villain’s true motivation. This ambiguity fuels the tension of the play just as much, if not more, than Iago’s dastardly deeds.

Iago 's begins his soliloquy by asking "And what 's he then that says I play the villain?" (2.3.324). This acts
…show more content…
This reiterates a pre-existing theme where Iago describes Othello 's relationship with Desdemona using a religious context. In this soliloquy alone, Iago also claims that Desdemona "shall play the god" (2.3.335). This blasphemous claim is a reversal of Iago 's prior accusations where he paints Othello as a devil who bewitched Desdemona. These statements highlight Iago 's misogynistic and racist attitudes, showing that he associates both interracial relationships and women in power as something unholy. The tirade against the couple continues when Iago states that Othello 's "soul is so enfettered to [Desdemona 's] love" (2.3.333). The word "enfettered" summons the picture of a man bound against his will. The use of it against Othello, a black man, is not only steeped in racial prejudice, but takes on a darker tone within the context of the play itself. Members of the audience know Othello was sold into slavery at one point in his live. To compare such an atrocity to the joy of marriage creates a repulsive …show more content…
While describing how he will bring Othello’s downfall, Iago describes turning Desdemona’s “virtue into pitch” (2.3.348). The word “virtue” acts as a play on words, not only referencing to Desdemona’s character, but also her sexuality. Not only does Iago reduce her to a sexual object, but he implies that Desdemona only holds worth if she remains pure. “Pitch” is a type of tar, sometimes described as a part of Hell’s landscape. Once again, Iago creates an association between the relationship and unholiness. Furthermore, because pitch is black in color, this reads as another piece of racist commentary. Finally, Iago states that his manipulation of Desdemona will “make the net / That shall enmesh them all” (2.3.349-350). With this statement, the soliloquy comes full circle. Iago designates himself the villain of the story, with the “net” and “enmesh” invoking the feeling of a hunter going after unsuspecting prey. Nevertheless, the “all” that Iago chases after has switched from Othello to Desdemona to Cassio and back again throughout twenty-six lines. Therefore, Shakespeare gives the audience insight into Iago’s mind without offering any

Related Documents