What sorts of ironies surround Iago in the first act of Othello?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If we take irony to be the discrepancy between appearance and reality, then certainly Iago is a character in whom irony abounds greatly in Act One. He takes great pains to appear to loyal confidante of Othello whilst actually working to act against him, informing Desdemona's father of Desdemona and Othello's elopement together. Note how he explains the way he must leave before Brabantio descends to Roderigo:

Farewell, for I must leave you.

It seems not meet, nor wholesome to my place,

To be produced, as, if I stay, I shall,

Against the Moor.

His whole identity is based on his hatred of "the Moor" and he takes great pains to appear to be loyal whilst plotting how to ruin his life. Note how in Act I scene 3, he says in a soliloquy:

He holds me well,

The better shall my purpose work on him.

Friendship and loyalty are just outward guises to allow him to advance his envious resentment against Othello.

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