What are some literary devices in Iago's soliloquoy in Act II Scene iii (from line 325) from Othello?  And what’s he then that says I play the villain? When this advice is free I give and...

What are some literary devices in Iago's soliloquoy in Act II Scene iii (from line 325) from Othello?

 

And what’s he then that says I play the villain?

When this advice is free I give and honest,

Probal to thinking and indeed the course

To win the Moor again? For ’tis most easy

Th' inclining Desdemona to subdue

In any honest suit. She’s framed as fruitful

As the free elements. And then for her

To win the Moor, were to renounce his baptism,

All seals and symbols of redeemèd sin,

His soul is so enfettered to her love,

That she may make, unmake, do what she list,

Even as her appetite shall play the god

With his weak function. How am I then a villain

To counsel Cassio to this parallel course,

Directly to his good? Divinity of hell!

When devils will the blackest sins put on

They do suggest at first with heavenly shows

As I do now. For whiles this honest fool

Plies Desdemona to repair his fortune

And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor

 

This is from Act 2, Scene 3. I'm stuck finding some literary devices.
Thanks.

Asked on by dap19

1 Answer | Add Yours

durbanville's profile pic

durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Iago's soliloquoy is a perfect example of how Iago manipulates every situation. He begins with a rheutorical question which almost allows the exploitation of the virtues and  weaknesses of his so-called friends. Iago justifies himself and ironically, having given Cassio 'good' advice as to how to win his position and favor back with Othello, knows he can poison Othello's mind sufficiently to misinterpret Cassio's and Desdemona's pleas.

The "divinity of hell" reinforces the spiritual element of the play and Iago's role as the devil. It entrenches the concept of appearance versus reality and is paradoxical as there should be no reference to divinity when speaking about hell! There are several references throughout to heaven, hell , the divine, evil powers and damnation. Act II itself opens with a storm, preparing the audience for what may follow.  

The word "honest"  when speaking about Iago is often repeated and, as Cassio has just uttered, adds more to the dramatic irony and is in keeping with everyone's misguided opinion of Iago. It

serves as an ironic backdrop for Iago’s treachery.

Othello is a christian but Iago reduces his faith by suggesting, in this metaphor, that Desdemona has him "enfetted" and claims he is weak and will do her bidding, at any cost.

There is also a double meaning in the use of "blackest" as obvioulsy Othello is black.  

 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question