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the supposed sexual activity of Desdemona and Cassio.Iago portrays desire in low terms, with reductive language: Desdemona's adoration is 'violence', Othello's wooing tales are 'bragging ... Iago's base reduction figures sex as hunger: 'her eye must be fed' (2.1.215).
If you are trying to get your students to deepen their understanding of 'Othello,' it can help to have them do detailed character analyses.
This lesson offers essay topics focusing on Iago and his role in the play and beyond.
This conflation of honesty with soldierly bluntness disadvantages Desdemona, who can never communicate her honesty in this manner.
Later, it will ensnare Othello: 'give thy worst of thoughts / the worst of words' (3.3.133–34).
A storm has dispersed the Venetian fleet so that Cassio arrives first, anxious for Othello's safety. Desdemona is relieved by Othello’s arrival and the joyful party depart, leaving Iago with Roderigo.
In this key passage (2.1.191–254), Iago persuades Roderigo that Desdemona loves Cassio.
When students understand him, they will have a deeper sense of what Othello is all about.
Writing about Iago will encourage students to consider Shakespeare's perspectives on a variety of significant themes, and it can also help them clarify their own values.
His speech plays upon stereotypes, revealing the dangerous underbelly of his earlier misogynistic ‘jokes’.
His language is heavily ironic, repeatedly calling Cassio a ‘knave’, though we know this is the role Iago himself gleefully identifies with.