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THE ART OF PERSUASION By Lu-Mae and Peta. In act III scene 3 Othello is persuaded within 150 lines not only to doubt his wife’s fidelity but to have her.

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Presentation on theme: "THE ART OF PERSUASION By Lu-Mae and Peta. In act III scene 3 Othello is persuaded within 150 lines not only to doubt his wife’s fidelity but to have her."— Presentation transcript:


2 In act III scene 3 Othello is persuaded within 150 lines not only to doubt his wife’s fidelity but to have her spied upon; within another 240 lines he has bonded himself to Iago, and a few minutes later he has sworn to murder Desdemona and the same evening. The number and range of persuasive devices employed by Iago, both in choice of words and types of strategy, combined with the over-active imagination and insecurities of Othello, make this less surprising than many critics have claimed.

3 Skills and advantages Iago have which make it possible for him to be successful (temptation scene) Both linguistic and psychological manipulation Weight of words (Iago 90 lines to Othello 60) Iago also has advantages of fluency of expression and of ideas Gift of improvisation to enable him take advantage of any opportunity. Iago is also a soldier who knows from experience when to feint a retreat in order to further advance

4 Persuasive Techniques Seed Sowing – planting a suggestion to bear fruit later Avoidance – refusing to give an answer to create anxiety Telling lies – knowingly stating a falsehood Gross image – providing an irremovable disgusting vision Playing devil advocate – manoeuvring interlocutor into taking up the other position Fake indignation – pretending to be offended Self – denigration – to give impression of honesty and humility. Imperatives – putting speaker in control

5 Iago's persuasive ability comes from trickery and believable lies. Othello's persuasive ability comes from his power and his position as General. Desdemona's ability comes from her innocence and beauty. Iago uses little tricks to gain the trust of Othello and persuades him towards his side. He is very subtle at first, only hinting that Desdemona is cheating on Othello. He gets more and more specific by blaming it on Cassio, pointing out the missing handkerchief, and finally telling Othello how to kill her. Iago's speech is very subtle in the art of persuasion and yet it works almost perfectly. His way of persuading someone towards his view is by letting the person, Othello in this case, fill in the obvious blanks. By simply hinting at the certain thing Iago wants Othello to see. When Iago is confronting Othello to his face and trying to convince him he brings up many points but one of the most disturbing to Othello is when Iago mentions his handkerchief. Iago says, “I know but that; but such a handkerchief - I am sure it was your wife's - did I today see Cassio wipe his beard with.” (149) He doesn't even say straight up that Desdemona gave her handkerchief, just lets Othello assume that's the only way Cassio could have gotten it. Of course, Othello falls right into Iago's trickery again.

6 Iago uses selective honesty as his persuasive tactic to dupe Roderigo into his trust and sway him to his own ends. Iago demonstrates how he pretends to be loyal to Othello while causing Roderigo and Brabantio to turn against Othello. Iago uses clever words and deceitful persuasions. At the beginning of "Othello," (Act I, Scene I), on a Venice street, Iago is introduced as a friend and trusted ally of Roderigo, and one who has his "purse". Roderigo reminds Iago that Iago told him previously that he was antagonistic to Othello, and Iago assures him this is so: "Despise me, if I do not" - even giving what sounds like a plausible reason, i.e., Iago is bitter at Othello for selecting another man, Michael Cassio, over himself to serve as Othello's lieutenant, and he admits his jealousy of Cassio and his wish for vengeance against Othello. Of course, it seems that he is telling all this to Roderigo in order better to win him over and gain his trust more.

7 The advantage Iago gains in persuading Othello that he is in a world of tricky, skilful actors is that it gives him an unchallengeable excuse for the shortage of unambiguous evidence of Desdemona’s infidelity: ‘Where’s satisfaction?/it is impossible you should see this,/Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys’ (Act 3 Scene 3 line 401-3). When Othello presses hard for ‘ocular proof’ Iago can only offer the next best thing – a report of a dream, a mere imitation of an action. Cassio miming and rehearsing his act of love in his sleep. This is as close as you can get to evidence in catching the clever Venetian actors in their sins. Well, that is not quite true. There is the handkerchief. Commentators frequently point out how flimsy Iago’s plot is but fail to note that were it not so flimsy it could now succeed. If any point Iago offers Othello a fact which breaches the completely theatrical, illusionary façade he has created then he gives him a means of tearing it down. Iago cannot take Othello behind the scenes because there is no behind the scenes. Othello is separated from a world that does not exist.

8 Summary of Iago’s tactics and intentions His tactics are to imply some hidden unpleasantness to put a different complexion on something to make it seem less innocent, or to present a hypothesis as if it were a fact. What is said cannot be unsaid. Creates unbearable tension and suspense through delaying giving answers, which not only makes Othello more desperate for information. He publishes doubt and calls it knowledge He is degrading people, relationships, values, facts and words. By putting words into new contexts and in a dubious tone of voice, he creates insecurity about the possibility of certainty By controlling words Iago controls everything.

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