Week 6 Discussion

Discussion Question 1

In Shakespeare’s Othello, how does Othello’s language change and shift as a means to show his declining and increasingly frenzied mental state?

Discussion Question 2

What do we learn about Iago and his plans through his soliloquies in Shakespeare’s Othello? How does the descriptive language he uses effect our understanding of Iago and his motivations?



You must make a substantive and thoughtful initial post of 250 words or more to one of the questions, incorporating MLA citation and a Works Cited.


Discussion Question 1: How does Othello’s language change and shift as a means to show his declining and increasingly frenzied mental state?

In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the protagonist Othello’s language changes and shifts throughout the play as a means to show his declining mental state. At the beginning of the play, Othello is a confident and noble figure, speaking in clear, eloquent language that reflects his intelligence and wisdom. However, as the play progresses and he begins to fall under the influence of Iago’s manipulation, Othello’s language becomes increasingly frenzied and disjointed, reflecting the turmoil and confusion that he is experiencing in his mind.

One notable example of this shift in Othello’s language occurs in Act III, Scene 3, when he is confronting Iago about the rumors of Desdemona’s infidelity. In this scene, Othello’s language is no longer clear and concise, but instead is filled with exclamations, interruptions, and repetitions, reflecting his growing anger and frustration. This is in contrast to his earlier, measured and controlled speeches, in which he expresses his love for Desdemona and his confidence in her innocence.

Another example of Othello’s changing language can be seen in his soliloquies, which provide insight into his internal thoughts and feelings. As the play progresses, Othello’s soliloquies become increasingly disturbed and frenzied, reflecting the growing paranoia and mistrust that he is feeling. For example, in Act IV, Scene 1, Othello’s soliloquy is filled with rhetorical questions, self-doubt, and confusion, showing how far he has fallen from his earlier confidence and stability.

Overall, Othello’s language shifts and changes throughout the play to reflect his declining mental state, providing the audience with a powerful insight into his thoughts and feelings. This change in language helps to bring the play to life and to make Othello’s tragic descent all the more poignant and powerful.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Othello. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Ed. David Bevington. 7th ed. New York: Longman, 2009. Print.

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