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北海道大学文学研究院紀要 = Bulletin of the Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences, Hokkaido University >
第165号 >

Creating Infidelity and Jealousy from Nothing : Iagoʼs Rhetoric in Othello, 3.3.29-261

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:https://doi.org/10.14943/bfhhs.165.l83

Title: Creating Infidelity and Jealousy from Nothing : Iagoʼs Rhetoric in Othello, 3.3.29-261
Authors: Miyashita, Yayoi1 Browse this author
Authors(alt): 宮下, 弥生1
Issue Date: 8-Dec-2021
Publisher: 北海道大学
Journal Title: 北海道大学文学研究院紀要
Journal Title(alt): Bulletin of the Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences, Hokkaido University
Volume: 165
Start Page: 83(左)
End Page: 106(左)
Abstract: Iagoʼs intelligence may be best demonstrated in his ability to capture the characteristics of the surrounding people, to manage them to act as his wishes, and to arrange the course of events totally for his own purposes. His seduction of Othello in Act 3 Scene 3, however, shows his capability with no less ruling power. After he has seduced Othello, the general shows a different personality, losing all his dignity and steadfast love for Desdemona. Iagoʼs insinuating passage is composed of just 232 lines altogether (from the time when Iago and Othello appear on stage where Cassio asking for help from Desdemona, to the point when Othello leaves Iago), and it is performed within approximately ten minutes. It shows Iagoʼs incredible capability to control othersʼ minds with his words. The aim of this essay, therefore, is 1) to analyse Iagoʼs facility to delude Othelloʼs judgement with mere words, and, by doing so, to explain his fiendish, but also efficient, nature from the perspective of his skilful command of language; and 2) to show how the audience appreciates Iagoʼs malignant tactics by being given an advantageous viewpoint. J. E. Tiles insists in “Logic and Rhetoric: An Introduction to Seductive Argument” that a “successful seducer need not lie: it may be sufficient to control selectively the seducedʼs attention in such a way that the victim connects the truth to a desired pattern,” and he gives Iagoʼs seduction of Othello as an example. Iago selects the truth for his end and lets “his victim draw the desired inference.” Tilesʼ view is very suggestive, capturing an important facet of Iagoʼs way of doing things: Iago never speaks of Desdemonaʼs unchastity explicitly, and he always makes Othello guess himself by giving clues. But if we scrutinise Iagoʼs concrete use of language, we will see that his tactics are much more complex and cunning than Tiles suggests.
Type: bulletin (article)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2115/83548
Appears in Collections:北海道大学文学研究院紀要 = Bulletin of the Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences, Hokkaido University > 第165号

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