Home » Othello » The tragic play ” Othello”, by William Shakespeare

The tragic play ” Othello”, by William Shakespeare

One of the most interesting and exotic characters in the tragic play ” Othello”, by William Shakespeare, is “honest” Iago. At first Iago seems to be motiveless. However, the motivation behind his actions lie more in Iago’s quest for personal gain, as opposed to just being evil for evil’s sake. Iago’s greediness can be validated by examining his manipulation of Roderigo, Cassio, and most importantly, Othello. Iago’s main interest is the destruction of Othello. The reason being that Othello has chosen another man, Cassio, as his second-in-command, preferring him to Iago.

This resentment, accompanied by Iago’s accusations of adultery and his blatant racism, cause Iago to despise the kindly moor. Because Iago is much too smart to immediately kill Othello, he proceeds with the arduous process of dismantling him emotionally. Iago also knows he must distance himself from any part of this, so he cleverly gets someone to do his dirty work. The first to fall victim to Iago’s manipulation is half-witted Roderigo. Iago knows Roderigo is consumed by lust for Desdemona, and would do what it takes to make her his own. Iago tells Roderigo that the only way to win Desdemona’s love is to make money to procure gifts for her.

Put money in thy purse”(act I scene 3 line 339). However Iago is just taking those gifts intended for Desdemona and keeping them for himself, and making a profit. Roderigo eventually starts to question Iago’s honesty. When faced with the accusations, Iago simply offers that the killing of Cassio will aid in his cause and Roderigo falls for it. In doing this, Iago keeps Roderigo in the dark and continues to profit from him monetarily. Roderigo is also used as a device in both Cassio and Othello’s downfall. Iago’s actions demonstrate his monetary and power based motivations, invalidating the claim that Iago is evil for evil’s sake.

Cassio like Roderigo follows Iago blindly, thinking the whole time that Iago is trying to aid him, when in fact Iago, motivated by his lust for power, is attempting to remove Cassio of his position as lieutenant. With Roderigo’s help Iago causes Cassio to forfeit his position as Othello’s second-in-command. Cassio is also used to bring out the monster inside of Othello. In Iago’s exploitation of Cassio, it is clear to see that, although evil in his deeds, Iago is strictly motivated by his hunger for power. As mentioned earlier, Iago’s main intention lies in the degradation of Othello.

Iago feels that he was best suited to hold the position of lieutenant, as opposed to Michael Cassio. From this Iago manufactures accusations of adultery, claiming that Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia. “Twixt my sheets/ he’s done my office. “(Act I scene 3 line 380) These accusations are merely excuses to validate his own pleasant acts and greed, and should be seen as nothing more. Again it’s plain to see that, in Iago’s deception of Othello he is motivated by his jealousy and subsequent bitterness. In conclusion, it’s evident that Iago is evil for greed’s sake, as opposed to evil for evil’s sake.

His craving can be seen in his clever manipulation of Roderigo, Cassio, and Othello. He uses Roderigo for his own financial benefit, as well as support his master plan; the destruction of Othello. Cassio was unfortunate enough to be chosen ahead of Iago as Othello’s second-in-command, and was reduced to a deteriorated state by Iago because of it. Lastly, driven by his bitterness towards Othello for choosing Cassio over him, Iago takes it upon himself to ensure Othello’s demise. Iago is an extremely complex character, and far from ordinary. His complexity and uniqueness makes him one of Shakespeare’s greatest villains.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment

Home » Othello » The tragic play ” Othello”, by William Shakespeare

The tragic play “Othello,” by William Shakespeare

Perhaps the most interesting and exotic character in the tragic play “Othello,” by William Shakespeare, is “Honest” Iago. Through some carefully thought-out words and actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a way that benefits him and moves him closer toward his goals. He is the main driving force in this play, pushing Othello and everyone else towards their tragic end. Iago is not your ordinary villain. The role he plays is rather unique and complex, far from what one might expect. Iago is smart.

He is an expert judge of people and their characters and uses this to his advantage. For example, he knows Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and figures that he would do anything to have her as his own. Iago says about Roderigo, “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse. ” [Act I, Scene III, Line 355] By playing on his hopes, Iago is able to swindle money and jewels from Roderigo, making himself a substantial profit, while using Roderigo to forward his other goals. He also thinks quick on his feet and is able to improvise whenever something unexpected occurs.

When Cassio takes hold of Desdemona’s hand before the arrival of the Moor Othello, Iago says, “With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. ” [Act II, Scene I, Line 163] His cunning and craftiness make him a truly dastardly villain indeed. Being as smart as he is, Iago is quick to recognize the advantages of trust and uses it as a tool to forward his purposes. Throughout the story he is commonly known as, and commonly called, “Honest Iago. ” He even says of himself, “I am an honest man…. ” [Act II, Scene III, Line 245] Trust is a very powerful emotion that is easily abused.

Othello, “holds [him] well;/The better shall [Iago’s] purpose work on him. ” [pg. 1244, Line 362] Iago is a master of abuse in this case turning people’s trust in him into tools to forward his own goals. His “med’cine works! Thus credulous fools are caught…. ” [pg. 1284, Line 44] Iago slowly poisons people’s thoughts, creating ideas in their heads without implicating himself. “And what’s he then that says I play the villain, when this advice is free I give, and honest,” [Act II, Scene III, Line 299] says Iago, the master of deception.

And thus, people rarely stop to consider the possibility that old Iago could be deceiving them or manipulating them, after all, he is “Honest Iago. ” Iago makes a fool out of Roderigo. In fact, the play starts out with Iago having already taken advantage of him. Roderigo remarks, “That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse as if the strings were thine. ” [Act I, Scene I, Line 2] Throughout the play, Iago leads Roderigo by the collar professing that he “hate(s) the Moor” [Act I, Scene III, Line 344] and telling Roderigo to “make money” [Act I, Scene III, Line 339] so that he can give gifts to Desdemona to win her over.

During the whole play however, Iago is just taking those gifts that Roderigo intends for Desdemona and keeps them for himself. Roderigo eventually starts to question Iago’s honesty, saying “I think it is scurvy, and begin to find myself fopped in it. ” [Act IV, Scene II, Line 189] When faced with this accusation, Iago simply offers that killing Cassio will aid his cause and Roderigo blindly falls for it, hook, line, and sinker. “I have no great devotion to the deed, and yet he has given me satisfying reason,” [Act V, Scene I, Line 8] says the fool Roderigo.

And with this deed, Roderigo is lead to his death by the hands of none other than, “Honest Iago. ” Cassio, like Roderigo, follows Iago blindly, thinking the whole time that Iago is trying to help him. And during this whole time, Iago is planning the demise of Cassio, his supposed friend. On the night of Cassio’s watch, Iago convinces him to take another drink, knowing very well that it will make him very drunk. Cassio just follows along, though he says, “I’ll do’t, but it dislikes me. ” [Act II, Scene III, Line 37] Iago is able to make him defy his own reasoning to take another drink!

Crafty, is this Iago. When Roderigo follows through with the plan Iago has set on him, Cassio is made to look like an irresponsible fool, resulting in his termination as lieutenant. After this incident, Iago sets another of his plans in motion by telling Cassio to beg Desdemona to help his cause, saying, “she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested. ” [Act II, Scene III, Line 287] And thus, Cassio is set on a dark path which leads to trouble and mischief.

Yet, Cassio follows it blindly telling Iago, “You advise me well. Act II, Scene III, Line 292] With this, Cassio is eventually led into a trap where Roderigo maims him, and all that time, Iago – his friend – is behind it all. Lowly Iago, is capable of anything – not even Othello is safe from this villain. Othello holds Iago to be his close friend and advisor. He believes Iago to be a person, “of exceeding honesty, [who] knows all qualities, with learned spirit of human dealings. ” [Act III, Scene III, Line 257] Yes, he does know all about human dealings, but no he is not honest. He uses the trust Othello puts in him to turn Othello eventually into a jealous man, looking everywhere.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment

Home » Othello » The tragic play ” Othello”, by William Shakespeare

The Tragic Play “Othello” By William Shakespeare

One of the most intriguing characters in the tragic play “Othello,” by William Shakespeare, is Othello’s “friend” Iago. At first glance, Iago seems to have no motive for the destruction he is causing. However, despite Iago’s unquestionable malignancy, the motivation behind his actions lie more in Iago’s quest for personal gain, as opposed to just being evil for evil’s sake. In order to achieve his personal gain Iago manipulates Rodrigo, Cassio and, most importantly, Othello.

Iago’s main interest is the destruction of Othello. The reason being that Othello has chosen another man, Cassio, as his second-in-command, preferring him to Iago. This resentment, accompanied by Iago’s fabricated accusations of adultery and his blatant racism, cause Iago to despise Othello, and shortly thereafter, begin to conspire against him. Instead of just killing Othello, Iago proceeds to attack him emotionally. Iago begins to manipulate the people around him in order to hurt Othello and make him think that his wife, Desdimona, and Cassio are having an affair.

The first to fall victim to Iago’s manipulation, is Rodrigo. Iago knows Rodrigo has feelings Desdemona, and would do anything to make her his own. Iago tells Rodrigo that the only way to win Desdemona’s love, is to make money to procure gifts for her. “…put money in thy purse..” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 339). However, Iago is just taking those gifts intended for Desdemona and keeping them for himself, and in doing so, making a substantial profit. “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 376).

Rodrigo eventually starts to question Iago’s honesty. When faced with this accusation, Iago simply offers that killing Cassio will aid his cause and the gullible Rodrigo falls for it. “I have no great devotion to the deed and yet he has given me satisfying reason,” (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 8). In doing this, Iago keeps Rodrigo in the dark and continues to profit from him monetarily.

Cassio, like Rodrigo, follows Iago blindly, thinking the whole time that Iago is trying to aid him, when in-fact, Iago, motivated by his lust for power, is attempting to depose Cassio of his position as lieutenant. Iago does this by getting Cassio drunk and causing him to get in a fight and disturb Othello, Othello then demotes Cassio of his rank as second-in-command thus securing the position for Iago. Cassio also serves as the “middle man” in Iago’s plan. Not only does Iago get Cassio demoted but he makes him the main focus of Othello’s rage by making it look like he is having an affair with Desdimona.

When Othello begins to believe that Cassio and Desdimona are having an affair he is so consumed with grief that he sends Iago to kill Cassio and he himself kills Desdimona. Instead of Iago Killing Cassio he sends Rodrigo to do his dirty work. This is where Iago’s plan begins to fade. Desdimonia gets murdered by Othello, however Cassio never dies. Othello then confronts Iago, finds out what really happened. Othello is then so consumed with guilt that he killed his wife he does himself in.

Othello, Desdimona, Cassio, and Rodrigo, are all innocent victims that die because of the selfishness of one man. It becomes clear at the end of the play what is was that Iago wanted. He wanted the promotion that Cassio got and he wanted to hurt Othello not only for giving the promotion to Cassio but also because Othello is a black man of high rank. Iago was not evil for the sake of being evil. His evil was driven from jealousy and greed that he couldn’t control.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.