“I am not what I am”
Corpus-based Analysis of Shakespeare’s Character Iago from Othello, the Moor of Venice
Keywords:characterization, corpus linguistics, keyword analysis, Othello, William Shakespeare, Iago
The paper uses keyword analysis as the empirical basis for the characterization of Shakespeare’s character Iago from Othello, the Moor of Venice. The aim of the paper is to determine how Iago’s manner of speech reflects his deceitful and manipulative nature and how it differs from the speech-styles of non-deceitful prominent characters: Othello, Cassio, Roderigo, Desdemona and Emilia. Keywords for the chosen characters are based on the corpora of character speech and the Sketch Engine tool is used to process the data. The results are then interpreted and discussed on the basis of six interconnected points of discussion: focus, adjectives, use of the expression Moor, references to the handkerchief, poisoning-the-ears technique, and pronouns, all of which confirm that Iago’s manipulative nature is indeed evident in his speech and that there is a clear difference between his speech-style and the speech-styles of other, non-deceitful, prominent characters.
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