What are some oxymorons in each act of Othello?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Shakespeare uses oxymorons to reconcile or synthesise opposites.  This is especially noticeable in the speech of Iago.  It is in this spirit of contradiction that Iago infects Othello and turns the general’s reality on its head.  Thus, in the middle of the play Othello begins to employ the animal and vermin imagery previously reserved for Iago.

In Act I of Othello, Brabantio says:

malicious bravery

In Act II, Desdemona says:

O heavy ignorance!

In Act III, Othello says:

Excellent wretch!

In Act IV, Emilia says:

a small vice

In Acts V, Iago says:

O notable strumpet!

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