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E316 Fall 2010 Students' Blog

Allison Sheehy on Othello, Act 5

Published by admin_main on Sat 30 Oct, 2010

15. In Act 5, Scenes 1-2, how does Iago try to secure the final success of his wicked plan? What circumstances prove to be his undoing, and how does his fall help to cap off the play's tragic ending in relation to Othello?

In the beginning of Act 5 Iago convinces Roderigo that he should kill Cassio when Cassio leaves Bianca's house. The two of them wait for him and then Roderigo jumps out at Cassio and stabs him but only wounds him, then Iago sneaks into the scene and stabs Cassio in the leg, making him weaker after Cassio had just stabbed and wounded Roderigo. During this while the men are fighting Lodovicio and Graziano rush to help the men, Iago sees this and kills Roderigo so that when the two men get to the scene Roderigo won't be able to tell his side of the story, the truth as to why Cassio was being attacked. Iago thought he had his whole plan worked out in the first scene because he thought that by killing Roderigo that he had covered all his "bases" and was in the clear. Scene two went his way as well in the first half when he thought he had fooled Othello even more by making him still believe Cassio had slept with Desdemona and that he should get revenge on Cassio. But first he had to go kill Desdemona for being unfaithful to him during their marriage. On his way there he says:

"It is the cause. Yet I'll not shed her blood, <br> Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow, <br> And smooth as monumental alabaster. <br> Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men. <br>

Put out the light then put out the light." (5.2, 3-10)

This is the scene when Othello is preparing and on his was to his bedroom to see Desdemona because he is going to kill her by smothering her with the pillow. It seems like these lines he is still so in love with her and doesn't fully want to kill her but he feels like he needs to so that it can correct what he did to him, or what he thought she did to him. It's obvious throughout the scene that he did not truly want to kill her but felt it was necessary.

"I kissed thee ere I killed thee. No way but this, <br>

Killing myself, to die upon a kiss." (5.2 368-369)

These are Othello's last words that he speaks while dying over the body of his wife. After Emilia explains to him that she's the one who found Desdemona's handkerchief and she then gave it to Iago who framed Cassio, Othello was enraged that he had just killed his wife under false pretenses and is so upset that he killed himself upon hearing the news.

At the end of the play Iago who was striving to ruin Othello's relationship with Desdemona because of his own paranoid thoughts of his wife cheating resulted in the deaths of innocent people.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice so hard to deceive."

Iago tried so hard to control everything that he tried messing with, however what he realized in the end was that once he began to mess with everyone's lives he couldn't control the snowball effect that was happening around him and he realized that in fact he ended up having lost control of what was happening and his plan took on a mind of its own when his "puppets" weren't performing like he had planned.

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