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What's your opinion on Othello as a character? In my opinion, I thought he was stupid for not realizing that what Iago was saying wasn't real.
Are you saying that, in act 4, when Iago is talking to Cassio about Bianca, Othello isn't foolish for thinking that Cassio is talking to Iago about Desdemona. Iago even says, "Now that I will question Cassio of Bianca (Shakespeare, 97)."
"Now he tells how she plucked him to my chamber (99)."
"Faith, the cry goes that you marry her (98)."
"Prithee say so...she haunts me in every place ... and falls me thus about my neck (99)."
Your interpretation that Othello is being portrayed as being unintelligent is correct. The author's point is that Shakespeare creates this illusion here, through Iago, that Cassio is talking about Desdemona, and because the audience knows the reality, Othello and even Cassio are portrayed as being unintelligent. This device is called dramatic irony. Not only are they portrayed as being stupid, but they also destroy their lives by accepting for reality Iago's illusion. Here's another example.
I actually read a critical analysis essay last night about the ironic equation in Othello. The author said that the audiences perception of Othello and other characters depends upon their ability to separate the illusions that Iago creates from the reality in the play.
"For that I do suspect the lusty Moore hath leaped into my seat... I fear Cassio with my nightcap too (44)."
See what I mean? Iago is actually illusioning himself into believing that Cassio and Othello deserve his revenge. As the audience though our perception of Cassio and Othello isn't bad here because we know that Cassio and Othello din't sleep with Emilia.
Wow. I never noticed how Shakespeare uses dramatic irony and expects his audience to separate illusion vs reality in his plays to change the audiences perception of his tragic heroes. I'm going to pick up Macbeth and see if my perception of him is similar to Othello. Thanks for your help!!!
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