In the context in which it is spoken, Othello takes this to mean that Cassio is flawed, which is true; but notice how Iago says no names, and doesn't explicitly apply the statement to any one person. In Othello's state, he believes Iago's empty statements to be a real attempt to hide the truth about what is going on, rather than lies crafted to stoke Othello's jealousy. Iago kneels with Othello, vowing to help Othello get his revenge. This comparison is calculated, since Iago knows that thinking of Desdemona as lusting after another man disturbs Othello greatly. Iago knows how important this handkerchief is to Othello; it was his first gift to Desdemona, and was given to him by his mother. Iago seizes on this opportunity to play on Othello's insecurities, and make Cassio's exit seem guilty and incriminating.
Background In Act 2 of William Shakespeare's Othello, the Turkish armada sank in a storm, and made Othello and everyone else's trip to Cyprus a waste of time. He describes in detail Cassio's actions, making them all too vivid for Othello to dismiss; indeed, they are so vivid that Othello forgets that they are merely words, and seizes them as true evidence against Desdemona. Othello asks Iago if he believes Cassio to be trustworthy, and gets mad when Iago dances around the question. Desdemona is undone by her own goodness, and her need to step into affairs on a public level, which upsets Othello. In this scene, Iago begins his machinations to make it seem like Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Iago, seeing his plan taking root, employs his double talk again.
Also, there are no subplots running through Othello, as in most Shakespearean plays. She then takes him inside to talk to Desdemona. The change in Cassio's tone and behavior around Bianca betray a cultural bias of the time toward women of certain stations; indeed, his behavior would not have been thought mean at the time, because of Bianca's lowly status. Cassio speaks with her briefly, but leaves just as Othello enters because he does not wish for a confrontation. Of course, his words are actually more complex and beautiful than those spoken by any other character in the play. He is deeply disturbed, and seems to be questioning and examining her to prove that she really is the harlot he believes her to be; however, he is so bent upon proving her guilty, that he does not consider that these tests mean nothing, or perhaps even exonerate her. We will be using two versions of Othello: the Shakespearean version and the modern translation.
She is very perceptive, and Emilia even more so, for she knows that though Desdemona has given Othello no cause to act toward her as he does; if he is jealous-natured, he needs little cause, and will not be convinced otherwise. Get ready for a wild ride, my friends. Othello, ever trusting, has come to firmly believe that Desdemona is done with him and does not love him anymore. Cassio then enters, with Iago; he laments that his suit is not successful, and that Othello does not seem likely to take him back. Even Hamlet had Polonius and the gravedigger to lighten up certain scenes, but in Othello, there is no relief from the tragedy that unfolds. She tells Emilia so, and that she believes Cassio is a good person, and has been wronged in this case; she pledges to do everything she can to persuade her husband to reinstate Cassio.
He reminds Othello that Cassio has known Desdemona for some time, and that he was Othello and Desdemona's messenger when they were dating. He then orders Iago to go and find some hard proof of Desdemona's infidelity. Othello then begins to say that he believes his wife is virtuous, which means that Iago finally addresses her directly, and further misleads Othello. Although Othello claimed ignorance and disregard for magic when accused him of witchcraft, here he takes the opposite position; the handkerchief, though it embodies no actual magic, has an almost supernatural hold over Othello. Iago's speech is also deeply ironic, since it points out Othello's flaws, and the root of his tragedy; Othello has no idea of the significance of these statements, and so neglects to take them to heart. Emilia thinks that Othello's change has something to do with Desdemona, or Othello's jealous nature; they still cannot fathom what has happened, and exit, leaving Cassio. Iago is alone with Othello and begins putting thoughts of adultery and distrust in his mind.
The minor comic relief that is present is reminiscent of Feste's wit in. Othello has Iago deliver some letters for him, then goes to check the town's defenses. He asks questions that are fundamentally related to the issues at hand, such as whether Desdemona and Cassio have known each other for a while. Desdemona gets upset with Othello for being weird about it, but Othello tells her that he just wants some alone time to think. Had Desdemona not felt such a sense of justice or been good enough to advocate for a case in which she was not involved, she might have survived.
This simile highlights the skill with which Iago operates. Desdemona is sorry for this, since she knows that Cassio is a man of worth; she tells Cassio and Iago that Othello has been acting strangely, and is upset, and Iago goes to look for him, feigning concern. Desdemona drops the handkerchief that Othello gave her on their honeymoon; Emilia takes it and gives it to Iago, who decides to use the handkerchief as the key prop in his bitter play. Desdemona does not like Othello's tone; he seems obsessed with this object, and Desdemona is so frightened by him that she wishes she had nothing to do with it. Desdemona enters, and they have a brief conversation; Othello admits that he is troubled, though he will not state the cause. In keeping with the dispositions and themes of this particular class, we are going to read Othello through the lens of leadership, particularly anti-leadership.
His tone is accusatory, tinged with bitterness, at times very biting. This is because of Bianca's station as a courtesan; such women were not accorded the same respect as ladies, although Bianca proves to be as perceptive as Emilia and Desdemona, and even more realistic about matters of love. Othello trusts Iago's words to convey proof, and is thwarted by Iago's dishonesty. . Othello takes the statement to mean that Iago is protecting Cassio's good name, but Iago says no more than his statements suggest; all the connections are done by Othello's grasping mind. We can learn what qualities of a good leader are through the examples of poor leaders; a good leader simply has the opposite traits of a poor leader.
This is not going to be simply a reading of a great piece of literature. What does Cassio do afterward? Emilia tells Cassio that Othello and Desdemona have been talking about his situation. Iago, in his usual fiendish way, assures Othello that Cassio would not run away like a guilty person at the sight of Othello, arousing Othello's suspicions. Desdemona is looking everywhere for the handkerchief, as she knows that her losing it will upset Othello greatly. However, Iago did not stop there. Iago's words are the shadow of Othello's inner turmoil, and there is indeed a monster in his thoughts.
The handkerchief, to Desdemona, symbolizes Othello's love, since it was his first gift to her. Joseph Ward May 31, 2014; Christine McKeever ed. Desdemona and Emilia both note that Othello is much changed; he is unkind and seems jealous, and they are suspicious of the change in him. Cassio's behavior toward Bianca is in sharp contrast to the courtly politeness he shows Desdemona and Emilia. Iago says that while it would be near impossible for him to witness Desdemona and Cassio actually having sex, he can probably give Othello some circumstantial evidence to that effect.