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Iago and Honesty in Othello Aleeza Gerstein April 21 1999 Iago uses the word honest in act three of Othello in three primary ways The first way he uses it is to mean honourable about Cassio He uses this meaning of the word to force Othello to doubt Cassios honesty and question his hounorablility The second way is to mean faithful both about Desdemona and Cassio Iago uses it in the context that the two may be truthful again to make Othello doubt The third way is Iagos most effective use which is to use honest in the context to mean truthful as in he has told Othello the truth However Shakespeare has created tremendous dramatic irony for we know that Iago is being anything except truthful The three uses of the word honest are used largely in the subtext of the act they are used by Iago to force Othello to question his wifes integrity and honesty Shakespeare uses the word by Iago to plant tremendous doubt in Othellos mind The word is also used by Iago in the action line His objective is constantly to make Othello think things without actually being told them and Iagos parroting of the word and constant useage do this quite nicely Iago initially uses the word honest to mean honourable in reference to Cassio Othello has asked him if he Cassio is not honest To which Iago parrots back Honest my lord This usage is constant with what Othello means whether Cassio is honourable or not However Iago uses the word to cast doubt on Othello By parroting it back he is making it seem to Othello that he does not want to answer the question that he doesnt want to tell Othello something This is seen in the subtext that Iago wishes to create This use of it also contributes to Iagos objective to make Othello think the opposite that Cassio is dishonourable even though
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