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Romeo and Juliette: How Language Reveals Deception in Act 1, Scene 3 - Essay Example

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Sebastian 1 How Language Reveals Deception in Act 1, Scene 3 Othello is a play centred on the theme of deception. Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses this theme principally through the character of Iago. Iago’s evil manipulation of others causes them emotional turmoil and mental anguish and eventually brings about their downfalls…
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Romeo and Juliette: How Language Reveals Deception in Act 1, Scene 3
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Download file to see previous pages Iago himself realizes that it is through the manipulation of words and the power of language that he can influence and deceive other characters in the play when he says that they, like Othello, will “tenderly be led by the nose / As asses are” (I.iii.383-384). Act 1, scene iii of the play immediately submerges the audience in the theme of deception via Iago’s speech. Iago is in conversation with Roderigo, the rejected suitor of Desdemona. In a long and convincing argument, Iago makes Roderigo believe that he can gain the love of Desdemona and eventually possess her, even after her marriage to Othello. He starts by gaining Roderigo’s trust. To Roderigo’s question: “Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on the issue?”, Iago answers almost immediately, “Thou art sure of me”. He tells Roderigo how he feels towards Iago, , leaving no room for Roderigo to question him. This has the desired effect of convincing Roderigo that Iago is trustworthy. Having gained Roderigo’s trust, Iago goes on to convince him to join in his scheme. When Roderigo tells Iago that he wants to kill himself, Iago tries to convince Roderigo not to kill himself for a woman. Through an extended metaphor, Iago Sebastian 2 addresses the issue of love and lust. He says, “Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners:” suggesting that our wills (“gardeners”) should control our bodies or our lives (“our gardens”). In other words, Roderigo should stop talking about what he is unable to do because we can all do whatever we decide to do. By doing this, Iago gives the impression that he is advising Roderigo to “cool (his) raging emotions”. In truth, Iago is manipulating him and deceiving him. This can be clearly seen by the language Iago uses. He mentions negative subjects in the garden imagery above. He mentions “nettles”, a weed with tiny hairs that produce a stinging, intense pain and causes skin irritation. Iago’s use of negativity shows that Iago has an ulterior motive. He hopes to stir up negative emotions in Roderigo so that the latter will join forces with him in his scheme to destroy Othello. However, Iago’s negativity does not end here. Later in the scene, Iago uses food and negative animal imagery to deceive Roderigo and convince him that Desdemona will eventually belong to him. He says that Othello’s sexual appetite that is now “as luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida” (I.iii.348-349). Likewise, when Desdemona has had her fill (“when she is sated with his body”), she will “find the error of her choice” and eventually “thou (Roderigo) will enjoy her”. By implying that Desdemona does not really love Othello but merely lusts for him, Iago deceives Roderigo and convinces him that Desdemona will finally belong to him. Iago also uses degrading terms to refer to the other characters in the play especially Othello, Desdemona and Roderigo himself. It is interesting to note that Iago never refers to Othello by name. Instead, he uses the word “Moor” in the same derogatory sense that Brabantio and Emilia use it. The word “Moor” establishes Othello as an outsider and is therefore inferior. By pointing out to Roderigo that Othello is a “Moor”, Iago causes Roderigo to become even more jealous Sebastian 3 since Roderigo has lost Desdemona to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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