By Tony Bromham (auth.)
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Additional info for Othello by William Shakespeare
That one thing which stirs Othello's anger is the failure of others to be open and forthright, as when he says 'My blood begins my safer guides to rule' when he fails to get an explanation of how the brawl started first from lago, then Cassio, and finally from Montano. Iago's ploy is always to stir up his victims (earlier Brabantio and Cassio) emotionally as a means of gaining control over them. At line 105 Othello is clearly becoming frustrated by Iago's behaviour at suggesting but not revealing something which is on his mind.
Ago's example in dealing with Cassio. Lodovico and Gratiano arrive and try in the darkness to discover what has happened. Iago then enters with a light. Cassio tells him that one of his attackers is lying wounded somewhere nearby. I ago kills Roderigo and then attends to Cassio's wounds. At that moment Bianca enters and Iago immediately accuses her of complicity in a plot to kill Cassio. She is arrested and led away. Commentary This scene takes place in darkness, and a darkness thicker than that of any previous night scene.
The phrase, 'by this heavenly light', which Desdemona uses in the form of a vow emphasising spiritual and moral values which govern her behaviour, becomes in Emilia's mouth literally the sun, or daylight as opposed to darkness. She would not be unfaithful in view of the world but she might be if it were hidden. Whilst this works on a human level as an attempt, albeit perhaps rather clumsy and insensitive on Emilia's part, to prevent the anguish of the situation overwhelming them both, it also works in dramatic terms by drawing contrasts between the spiritual and worldly perspectives of Desdemona and Emilia respectively, presenting unshakeable goodness and worth in the former and emphasising how deceived Othello is, immediately before the last act of the tragedy.