What are some paradoxes and verbal ironies in each act of Othello? (Please include act, scene and page number.)

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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One prime example of verbal irony in Othello occurs when Iago and Cassio discuss the issue of reputation.  In Act 2, Scene 3, Cassio is upset that rumors have ruined his reputation.  To this, Iago responds:

As I am an honest man, I had thought you had receiv'd some bodily wound; there is more sense in that than in reputation.  Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.  (II.iii.266-270)

Iago's comment is entirely ironic because the audience clearly knows that Iago's schemes are the cause of Cassio's troubles.  Iago is anything but honest as he has lied to several of the other characters in setting up his schemes.  Further, here Iago tells Cassio that reputation is not important; however, Iago has been bitter from the beginning of the play for what he feels is a slight to his reputation (not being promoted by Othello).  So Iago's comments to Cassio are a prime example of verbal irony.

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