Honest Iago

"IAGO: Stand you a while apart.

Confine yourself but in a patient list.

Whilst you were here, o'erwhelmèd with your grief -

A passion most unsuiting such a man -

Cassio came hither. I shifted him away,

And laid good 'scuse upon your ecstasy,

Bade him anon return and here speak with me,

The which he promised. Do but encave yourself,

And mark the fleers, the gibes and notable scorns

That dwell in every region of his face.

For I will make him tell the tale anew,

Where, how, how oft, how long ago, and when

He hath and is again to cope your wife.

I say, but mark his gesture. Marry, patience,

Or I shall say you're all-in-all in spleen,

And nothing of a man" (Othello 4.1.72-87).

Over the course of Othello, the title character endures several metaphorical falls. Indeed, one need only compare his social status in Act I and in Act V: at the start, Othello commands respect for his grand military successes; by the close of the play, unearthly jealousy has reduced him to homicide, stripped him of power, and ultimately led him to stab himself. Rather than one meteoric decline, as in Oedipus Rex, however, it seems that Othello falls a little bit with each scene. The most significant of these dips in honor occurs in Act IV, Scene I...

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