What are some paradoxes and verbal ironies in each act of Othello?

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

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In Act 3, Iago and Othello discuss the possibility of Desdemona's unfaithfulness.  Othello does not believe Iago's claims at this point; however, he is becoming suspicious and worries that the rumor might in fact be true.  Iago tells Othello that Cassio is an honest man:

Men should be what they seem.  Or those that be not, would they might seem none.  (III.iii.124-125)

This is ironic because Iago does not want Othello to believe that Cassio is an honest man--he is simply planting a seed of doubt in Othello's mind.  Further, Iago suggests that a man's true character should be what he shows other people; however, this is certainly not the case for Iago who is scheming under Othello's nose.

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