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Ambiguity In Othello

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In William Shakespeare’s Othello, jealousy is a major, plot-advancing mechanism, as well as one of the most prominent themes. As planted by Iago in Act III, Othello’s own doubts and jealous tendencies cause his demise. Shakespeare utilizes ambiguity, adoring tones, and the power of suggestion to develop the young hero’s unfortunate hamartia. In doing so, it is proven that sometimes naivety and too much faith in an unvalidated source of information can cause deadly miscommunication. Act III Scene III of Othello is dripping with ambiguity, specifically in the answers and suggestions of Iago as he discusses the faithfulness of Desdemona with Othello. Iago initially asks Othello, “Did Michael Cassio, when you wooed my lady, Know of your love?” (III.iii.95-96), and when Othello replies, “He did, from first to last. Why dost thou ask?”…show more content…
Early on in the play, Iago mentions that he hates Othello because Othello chose “one Michael Cassio” (I.i.21) for a promotion that Iago feels he rightfully deserved. So as a sick sort of revenge, throughout most of the play, we see Iago try to incite jealousy in Othello-through the use of brief responses, suggestive statements, adoration, and other tactics-even though it was he, Iago, who is really the jealous one. Iago uses Othello’s naivety and his honest nature, to plant doubts which could only take root in a mind so innocent, trusting and as eagerly attentive and believing as Othello’s. By the end of the play, it is evident just how dangerous jealousy and suggestion can become, as Othello murdered his own wife, motivated only by his own jealousy-tainted thoughts. The saying “the pen is mightier than the sword,” is most definitely true here; Iago uses nothing but words to exploit Othello’s hamartia-his fatal flaw-and send him into a zealous rage with minor
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