The language in the play Othello by William Shakespeare might be considered rather complex for a modern reader, but its features are well chosen and reflect some of the main themes of the play. Since Othello focuses so much on manipulation and deception, the language features are made to reflect Iago’s manipulation and the effect it has on the characters.

Verse and prose

As is the case in many of Shakespeare’s plays, the characters alternate between verse and prose. Verses are used for formal occasions, to denote speech that is carefully planned, or to show that a character is still able to practice self-control. Iago is particularly adept at using verse whenever he wants to manipulate Othello into thinking that Cassio and Desdemona are betraying him. For example, when Othello is a...

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