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Does Othello contain any examples of ethos, pathos, or logos in the play? What...

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kvanwagoner | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 16, 2011 at 3:07 AM via web

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Does Othello contain any examples of ethos, pathos, or logos in the play? What rhetorical devices does Shakespeare use in Othello?

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kschweiz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted April 19, 2011 at 10:17 AM (Answer #1)

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Iago utilizes each of these persuasive devices in Othello. Ethos requires the speaker to convince his audience that he is worth listening to and is trustworthy. Pathos depends upon the speaker's ability to appeal to the reader's emotions. Logos demands the speaker to persuade the reader with logic. First, Iago bribes and manipulates Roderigo into betraying Desdemona and Othello--they have been married without her father's permission or knowledge. Next, Iago uses the Moor's race against him, insinuating that he is not worthy and should not be married to Desdemona. Meanwhile, he is consistently manipulating Othello, appearing to be his friend and confidant as he betrays him by playing puppeteer with those around them.

The link listed might be useful in understanding what ethos, pathos, and logos are, but each of these examples exist in the text and fuel the progression of the plot of Othello. Iago demonstrates how dangerous words can be, particularly when woven so cleverly and tied to relationships.

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