Iago : An Aristotelian Rhetorician Essay

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Iago: An Aristotelian Rhetorician
Iago, William Shakespeare’s cleverly crafted antagonist in his play “Othello,” could undoubtedly be seen through most rhetorical theorist’s perspectives. The overlooked and bitter advisor of Othello who conceives and executes the demise of his commander through rhetorical means of persuasion is a character rich in depth of Aristotelian tradition. Aristotle, the 4th Century BC, Greek philosopher’s definition entitled “Rhetoric” charts a middle course between those of his predecessors. Plato, who views the art of rhetoric as merely illusion versus those of the Sophists who believed in a do what is necessary to win style of speech.
Aristotle suggests that rhetoric “be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion” (“Rhetoric,” 181). In other words, inventing or discovering what will work correctly in varying circumstances to exert influence. Still, from Aristotle’s view, a successful orator must encapsulate three modes of proof or persuasion to exhibit control and mastery of rhetoric over an audience. “The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker, the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself” (Aristotle, “Rhetoric,” 181). Iago, a master in rhetorical tools by all accounts demonstrates his abilities throughout the play and his plan to manipulate his superior commander.

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