Shakespeare plays with language, often giving words or statements double meanings. He is a master when it comes to choice of words never revealing exactly what he is intending. Throughout Othello, Shakespeare frequently repeats words and phrases, thus giving these words significant meaning to the text. Each time, he is creating emphasis to force his audience to really focus on what is happening. One thing that really stuck out to me is the repetitive use of the characteristic “honest” of Iago in Act 5. In just a few pages, Othello proclaims his trust in Iago by calling him honest and describing him as the complete opposite of who he really is. Othello states:
“O brave Iago, honest and just…” (5.1.32)
“Honest Iago hath ta’en order for’t” (5.2.79)
“Ay, ‘twas he that told me on her first.
An honest man he is, and hate the slime
That sticks on filthy deeds.” (5.2.154-56)
These quotes all explain exactly how Othello feels about Iago. The use of “honest” shows how easily Othello is tricked in this play by Iago. Shakespeare uses this word over and over again to show emphasis on Othello’s trust and loyalty with Iago. This is the final act in which Othello learns of Iago’s true identity and intent. These quotes are full of irony because as the audience we know that Iago is not who he seems to Othello. He is in fact the rat and the villain of the play; planning to destroy Othello by attacking his marriage. It is very ironic how Othello places all of his trust in a man who is out to destroy him. By repeating these words, the audience begins to have a sense of pity and sorrow for Othello because we know things that he does not.