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Alliteration in Othello

Alliteration Examples in Othello:

Act I - Scene I

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"you'll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse; you'll have your nephews neigh to you; you'll have coursers for cousins, and gennets for germans...."   (Act I - Scene I)

Iago continues to use animal imagery to evoke scenes of Othello and Desdemona making love. Once again, this is an instance of overt racism on Iago’s part. These lines are illustrative of Iago’s character: he is duplicitous and crude, yet eloquent and witty. He displays his penchant for poetry in alliterative phrases such as “neighbors neigh” and “coursers for cousins.”

"the bloody book of law You shall yourself read in the bitter letter After your own sense...."   (Act I - Scene III)

The Duke of Venice grants Brabantio the role of judge, jury and executioner. Shakespeare crafts these lines to be delivered dramatically. Notice the heavy alliteration and rhyme in phrases such as “bloody book of law” and “bitter letter.”

"Why, how now, ho! from whence ariseth this?..."   (Act II - Scene III)

Othello takes control of the scene with a commanding, eloquent speech. The musicality of his phrasing marks a change in tone from the brawl to the aftermath. He employs a number of subtle rhymes and alliterations: “turn’d Turks”; “barbarous brawl”; “holds his soul”; “dreadful bell”; “matter, masters.”

"caroused Potations pottledeep;..."   (Act II - Scene III)

Iago uses this lively phrase to describe Roderigo’s drinking. Shakespeare pulls together some inventive, alliterative language to give the phrase a festive tone. “Pottledeep” is a word invented by Shakespeare (a pottle being a half gallon.)

"It makes us, or it mars us; think on that, And fix most firm thy resolution...."   (Act V - Scene I)

Iago coaxes Rodrigo into killing Cassio and reminds him of the stakes of the situation. In a clever, alliterative phrase, Iago claims that this moment “makes us, or mars us.” Iago, manipulative as ever, attempts to be as uninvolved in the murder as possible.

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