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In Act 1 of Othello, how does Iago use his power of persuasion with Roderigo, Brabantio...

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borislav | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 30, 2009 at 3:31 AM via web

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In Act 1 of Othello, how does Iago use his power of persuasion with Roderigo, Brabantio and Othello to create his scheme to undo the Moor?

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 30, 2009 at 4:18 AM (Answer #1)

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In Act 1, Iago uses different forms of manipulation with each character so that he can advance his scheme to bring down Othello and Cassio.

Roderigo: Iago knows that Roderigo is controlled by his emotions and, therefore, not a logical thinker.  He first "pinpoints the enemy" with Roderigo by telling him that Othello has just eloped with Roderigo's love interest Desdemona.  After painting Othello as an unequal match for the fair heroine, Iago stirs up Roderigo's anger toward the Moor and convinces him to awaken Brabantio to tell him that his daughter is gone.

Brabantio: With Brabantio, Iago also pinpoints the enemy by describing Othello, who has run off with Brabantio's only child, in unflattering animalistic terms.  Iago's diction is also carefully chosen to inflame Brabantio's feelings toward Othello.  He refers to Othello's skin color and other stereotypes from his day to remind Brabantio how others will view Desdemona's running off with the Moor.

Othello: With Othello, Iago panders to his every move.  He puts on a completely different face and appears to be a loyal and honest confidant for the general.  His most effective means of persuading Othello to trust him is simplyhis appearing to show respect to his leader. He strokes Othello's pride by reassuring him that the Duke and Senate will not hold his marriage to Desdemona against him because of his great skill and reputation with them.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 30, 2009 at 4:50 AM (Answer #2)

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Look at Act 1 Scene 3, after close-reading it and the summary. After Desdemona's wish is granted, Roderigo is despairing,feeling he has lost her for ever. Iago sees this and ever-observant and waiting to pounce sees the weaknesses and motivations of the others too. He becomes excited as a plan is sparked - he shares his evil manipulations in his speech at the end of the Act so examine that line by line and use some quotes:

He fills Roderigo with false hopes 'put money in thy purse' (cheer up, get ready to be rich and happy-your fortunes are about to change)

'thou shalt enjoy her'

'Let us be conjunctive in our hate against him'

'thine hast no less reason'

and Iago...tellingly...in 'private'

'thus do I ever make my fool my purse'

'Cassio's a proper man: let me see now to get his place.....'

and about Othello - it will be easy to manipulate him and

have him 'led by the nose as asses are' by putting pressure on his suggestible nature.

Why are they all so blind? Previous question about this below:

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