The Diction Of Iago In Shakespeare's Othello

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The first act of Othello is a microcosm of sorts for the entire play. In the first act, the reader sees Iago infect two characters with his evil methods, which are reflections of Iagos’ maneuvers in the subsequent Acts of the play, those Acts which progress according to Iago’s actions. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the characters’ strong and symbolic diction is an essential element in the progression of the events of the play. In considering the character of Iago with respect to his diction, the reader recognizes literary patterns which allow for a more profound insight into the text. Although these patterns should be viewed in light of the aggregate of the work, it is in Act 2 that the greatest amount of Iago’s metaphorical speech of disease and infection is found, wherein begins to craft his fatal web. The evil that Iago implants in his victims is akin to disease, and Shakespeare gives the reader, through patterns of refined diction, indication of this disease 's progression. From the onset of the play in 1.1, Iago starts to spread his metaphorical disease. Talking to Roderigo, Iago directs him to “Poison his [Brabantio’s] delight … [and] plague him with flies” (1.1.65,68). Immediately after this, we see Roderigo falter and acquiesce without question to Iago’s directive. Subsequently, Brabantio accuses Othello of using “drugs or minerals” (1.3.73) to abuse Desdemona’s young mind and marry her. Here, one does not see an extension of the metaphorical disease; rather, one sees
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