Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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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 Othello?

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In the opening scene of the play, Iago expresses his contempt and hatred toward Othello for offering the revered lieutenant position to the inexperienced Florentine, Michael Cassio. Iago feels disrespected and begins to formulate a plan to get revenge on Othello. Initially, Iago manipulates the ignorant, lovesick Roderigo and uses him as a pawn to fulfill his malevolent plan. Iago is aware that Roderigo admires Desdemona and manipulates him into funding his schemes by convincing him that he can win Desdemona's heart back. At the beginning of the play, Iago instructs Roderigo to inform Brabantio that his daughter has eloped with Othello.

Iago recognizes that Brabantio will be appalled by his daughter's actions as a result of his racial prejudice and hopes that Brabantio will use his political influence to punish Othello. Iago proceeds to manipulate Brabantio by comparing Othello to an "old black ram," referring to him as the devil, and inciting Brabantio's rage by commenting on Othello's...

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