Poisonous Ideas In Othello By William Shakespeare

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Poisonous Ideas
Often people underestimate the power of words. People use words every day commonly throwing them around without intentions. However, when attempting to change someone 's opinion or insult them, words convey meaning. Words can not physically hurt anyone, but they ingrain themselves in thoughts and emotions. In Othello by William Shakespeare, Iago uses his words to exploit vulnerabilities and manipulate people. Throughout the play, Shakespeare introduces poison, herbs, and medicine to depict how words affect a person and bring out their inner flaws or desires. Poisons reflect how all of the characters’ actions, reputations, and affections are governed by what they have heard, or what is said about them, not their own opinions. Words are Iago’s poison, which he employs to manifest ideas of self-deprecation in Othello’s mind, causing him to seek revenge. At the beginning of the play, Othello is confident. But underneath his air of eloquence and dignity, he secretly internalizes insults about his race. However, Othello still perceives himself to be an important and desirable man given his prestigious position and military successes. By feeding Othello lies laced with his racial insecurities, Iago conflicts him. Iago says that Othello drastically changes “with his poison”:
Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons,
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood
Burn like the mines of sulfur. (3.3.372-377)

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