World Civ. II/Hansen Iago’s Bestiary Due: Friday, Dec. 2nd. Background: In the middle ages, animal stories were immensely popular. There was a spiritual and mystical lore associated with beast in many of the stories. A bestiary is an encyclopedia or catalogue of beast. Many of the descriptions of the beast were accompanied with a moral lesson. Directions: Review Act 1 of Othello. Look for animals, birds, insects, and creatures that Iago mentions. List at least ten of them in the chart below and note the significant of the symbolism.
This work is to be done individually. Do not share work with classmates. Do not use outside sources to assist in this assignment. Use your own wonderful brain and be thorough in your explanations. This assignment is to be typed. This assignment is to be submitted to turnitin. Act, Scene, Line of Quote| Animals, Birds, Insects, Other Creatures Mentioned by Iago| Explain the Symbolism| 1. 1. 71| “Daws to peck at” Iago’s heart| Daws are viewed as stupid birds. This language creates an image of a crow picking at carcass of animal.
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The daw is symbolic of slow and dense humanity. The heart is symbolic of emotions. Iago is saying that he will not allow his thoughts and emotions to be viewed and criticized by people who he considers to be dimwitted – picked at like birds picking at a carcass. This metaphor shows Iago’s arrogance. | 1 1. 1. 97-98| “Even now, now, very now an old black ramIs tupping your white ewe”| While old, black, and ram have bad connotations, white ewe has an innocent and sweet connotation. Iago uses these specific words to make Othello seem very unappealing compared to Desdemona.
Old exaggerates Othello and Desdemona’s age difference, black gives a harsh racist statement, and ram makes Othello look aggressive and unfit for the innocent Desdemona. | 2 1. 1. 122-123| “sir, you are one of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you” | Iago is insulting the senator and stating that even if the devil, God’s worst enemy, bid him to serve under God and do what God tell him to do, the senator would not. Iago thinks the senator is less holy than the devil; the beast who is known to be the most evil being. | 3 1. 3. 56-358| “Ere I would say I would drown myself for the love of a guinea hen, I would change my humanity with a baboon”| Guinea hen is a female guinea pig and Iago is using this animal to refer to Desdemona. The fact that the animal is a rodent and a baby is demeaning towards Desdemona. He is also saying that rather than drowning himself for such a woman, he’d gives his life to an unintelligent and wild baboon. This is a big insult because the reader comes to know that Iago thinks very highly of himself, his cleverness, and his intelligence. 4 1. 3. 378-379| “Drown cats and blind puppies”| Cats and blind puppies are known to be helpless and when blind, useless. Iago is saying do not drown yourself because drowning yourself is allowing you to be compared with such helpless and useless animals. This is also ironic because Iago thinks of Rodrigo as a blind puppy being led and used by Iago himself. | 5 1. 1. 78| “Plague him with flies” | Flies are known to be disgusting and to fly around objects that are decaying or trash.
Iago is telling Rodrigo to call Desdemona’s father to tell him the news of Othello’s marriage with her daughter. He is comparing the pest of an insect to Othello and saying that they are both disgusting and unappealing. | 6 1. 1. 124-125| “you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse”| A Barbary is a horse from N. Africa used to do work in trade routes. Iago is comparing Othello to a slave from Africa because Othello was also from Africa. He is also giving the image of an animal taking a nobles daughter to marry. 7 1. 3. 444-445| “And will as tenderly be led by th’ nose as asses are”| An ass is a donkey. Donkeys are used to do work and are usually seen as dumb animals. Iago is saying that not only is Othello unintelligent and stupid, but he will be easily tricked and be misled through lies and deception. He is arguing that Othello is not fit to hold such a high position because he is too gullible and unintelligent. | 8 1. 1. 130| “making the beast with two backs” | . | 9 1. 1. 50| | | 10 | | |