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Insidious Iago:

The Use of Devious

Lectures to Destroy
Political and Social
Hierarchies  The
Quest to Gain the Upper
/Crafty Advice

Quest for Power Struggle:
Upper Hand Social Structure

Miscegenation and
Cultural Associations
Characterizing Discourse
Utilizing Crafty, Contradictory Advice  Produce
Social Turmoil
P: One uses mindless, Gain anadvice
contradictory Upper Hand as a means to
and discourse
producing social turmoil for his or her own benefit or “upper hand.”
Iago: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! / It is the green-eyed monster,
E: which doth mock / The meat it feeds on” (III.iii.165-67).

“Wear your eyes thus: not jealous nor secure” (III.iii.198).
P: “[Discourse] is about ambiguous and
contradictory discourse to produce a
social reality…Our ability to act
strategically is limited by the
discourses that accompany our
intervention and the complex
processes of social construction that
precede it” (Phillips 2).
Political and Social Structure:
Causation to Utilize Discourse as
Means to a Higher Power
P: Political and social
hierarchies often act as a
causation to utilize
discourse as a means to a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fItEf
higher power.
0:56 to 1:40
E: Iago: “Let me
see now, To get his
place and to plume
up my will
In double knavery.
How? How?” P: “…systematically explore
(I.iii.330) opaque relationships of causality
P: “Classification has crucial between a) discursive practices
effects such as whether political and events and b) wider social
processes and relations are and cultural structures and
predominantly represented, relations; ideologically… are
understood, and acted upon in shaped by relations of power and
terms of a division” (Fairclough struggles over power”
88). (Fairclough 132).
Cultural Association: Incorporating
Customs into Strategic Discourse
P: Cultural differences and associations are often employed in strategic discourse
in order to facilitate the process of character manipulation and conniving

E: Iago: “Even now,

now, very now, an old
black ram / Is tupping
your white ewe” (I.i.85-

P: “Iago’s ploy to string Roderigo along

P: “[Critical Discourse] is essentially
is assisted by his assurance…[that]
dealing with an oppositional study of
miscegenation is an issue on the level…
the structures and strategies of elite
of language, especially of black and
discourse and their cognitive and social
white and their cultural associations,
conditions and consequences, as well
[which] characterize the play’s
as with discourses of resistance against
discourse: “black ram,” “white ewe””
domination” (van Dijk 19).
(Howard 45).
• Contradictory Discourse (Slide Three)  Discourse is utilized in vague and
contradicting methods in order to gain the “upper hand.” When inflicted
properly, discourse creates an inability to think rationally, and thus often
results in social turmoil (as shown through Iago’s contradictory use of
discourse with Othello).
• Social/Political Involvement: Power (Slide Four)  Discourse is often utilized
when one’s social or political “ranking” is not, idealistically, as superior as one
may desire. A power struggle is inevitable in regards to the discourse theory,
and one would take critical action to change his or her status on a social or
political hierarchy (as shown through Iago’s conniving plans to manipulate
numerous characters for his own gain).
• Cultural Association (Slide Five)  Discourse plays an essential role in
characterizing cultural differences and associations. By strategically
developing a way to make use of language and communication, one enables his
or herself to facilitate the process of character manipulation, which, again,
results in personal gain (as shown through Iago’s manipulation to anger
Brabantio and convince Roderigo to fall into his ploy).
The Critical Discourse Analysis Theory is a
carefully crafted system composed of either
a) contradictory language, b) a common
desire for power in a political or social
hierarchy, and/or c) the incorporation of
cultural associations to bring forth
consequential results. Discourse, on a
fundamental level, is the integration of
language to gain the “upper hand” in a
power struggle.
Works Cited
Fairclough, Norman. Discourse in Late Modernity. Columbia: Columbia UP, 1999.

Howard, JeanJean E. "Shakespeare Reproduction: The Text in History and Ideology." British Library Cataloguing in
Publication Data. Methuen &Co Ltd and Methuen, Inc., 1987. Web. 4 Dec. 2009.

Phillips, Nelson. "Discourse Analysis: Investigating Processes of Social Construction." JSTOR. Sage Publications,
Inc., 2002. Web. 3 Dec. 2009. <http://http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-3-

Shakespeare, William. Othello. New York: New American Library, 1998.

Van Dijk, Teun A. "Aims of Critical Discourse Analysis." Japanese Discourse, 1995. Web. 2 Dec. 2009.