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Examination Questions on Othello

Question: How do you explain the ascendency which Iago obtains over Othello in III. iii.?

Answer: In III. iii. we see cold, evil intellect brought in contact with innocence and simplicity. The subtlety and cunning, the insight into Othello's mind here seem almost supernatural. lago urges Othello on by suggesting to his mind what he wishes him to believe. Here, too, we see lago's power of making the good seem evil.

We must remember that were we in Othello's place we would probably feel and act as he does. He has never had any reason to suspect the honesty and faithfulness of lago; he is too innocent to suspect guile; the proofs all seem indisputable. lago, by his subtle power of intellect, forces Othello's mind to move in the channel which he has prepared. He attacks and destroys him through his virtues, which tends to enhance his villainy; he destroys Othello's happiness, and finally his life, by turning his grandest virtues, his love for Desdemona, his heroism, his grand innocence and simplicity, into instruments of torture: so he proceeds in the case of Desdemona. Elsewhere he works upon the faults and weaknesses of his victims.

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How to cite this article:
Ragland, Fanny. Shakespeare Examinations. Ed. William Taylor Thom, M. A. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1888. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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