Othello One Pager: Personal Statements
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Patrick Romero Healy * AP English Literature * Period 1 Othello One Pager March 28, 2018
The soliloquy at the end of Act I reveals Iago's true natures and intentions. Iago is angry at Othello for promoting Cassio to lieutenant instead of him because he feels as if he deserved the position more than Cassio did. As consequence, Iago grows envious of Cassio and plots his revenge against both him and Othello. He plans to use Othello's weakness, the fact that he is a Moor, and thus an outsider, against him as to bring about his downfall. Essentially, Iago's soliloquy sets up the plot structure of the play as it focuses on his devious schemes.
In this scene, Cassio expresses his deep regret for having drunken alcohol and engaging in a fatal brawl with Montano. As consequence of his rash actions, Cassio is demoted by Othello. From then on, Cassio becomes entirely focused on claiming his position back and restoring his honor. This scene reveals how Cassio is easily influenced to sway toward immoral behavior since Iago was able to convince him to drink without difficulty. Additionally, it shows how Iago is able to orchestrate chaos through manipulation of other characters so he can follow through with his schemes. By causing Cassio's demotion, Iago is then able to move onto his next plan of creating the idea in Othello's mind that Desdemona is having an affar with Cassio since Cassio goes to her for help.
The mistake of Desdemona to lose the handkerchief that Othello gave her is significant because it affirms Othello's beliefs of her affair with Cassio. The handkerchief has a meaningful history to it, as it was given to Othello's mother by an Egyptian. If the bearer of the handkerchief were to lose it, that meant the owner's faithfulness and loyalty would be lost as well. Essentially, the handkerchief symbolizes fidelity and loyalty, and Desdemona's misplacing of the handkerchief signifies to Othello that his wife has been cheating on him. Othello grows angry with her, which then leads him to vow to kill her now that his suspicions of her infidelity have been confirmed now that the handkerchief is lost.
This scene is significant because it demonstrates how Othello has drastically changed from the beginning of the play in Venice. Brought upon by anger, jealousy, and ultimately madness, Othello strikes Desdemona, which comes as a shock to Lodovico who observes the scene. Lodovico is appalled at Othello's violent and cruel behavior toward Desdemona, and comments how he is not same person as he was in Venice. In Venice, Othello was noble and admired by many, but on Cyprus he has become hysterical and vengeful. This drastic transformation was brought about through Iago's lies and suggestions, which shows how Iago is so manipulative and cunning. The poison that Iago has been feeding to Othello has reached to his brain and caused madness in what was once an honorable man and correct state of mind.
In this scene, Othello is preparing to murder Desdemona while she lies on the bed. Essentially, Othello and Desdemona's marriage was a tortured love affair that was fragile in the first place. The two characters seemed to only love the idea of each other and not feel actual passion and intimacy, which is evident in how quickly Othello's love for his wife transformed into hatred and suspicion. Their marriage was tainted by the selfish and deceitful motives of Iago, who caused Othello's madness and suspicion of his wife's infidelity. Ultimately, this scene captures the dramatic change Othello has undergone, as he decides to go along with his plan to murder Desdemona despite her pleas of innocence and purity.
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