Essay, Research Paper: Othello And Iago

Shakespeare: Othello

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In Shakespeare's "Othello," Iago carefully and masterfully entraps
Othello into believing that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio.
He does this through a series of suggestions and hesitations that entice and
implant images into Othello's head that lead him to his own end. More
importantly, Iago gives Othello the motive to murder his own innocent wife
Desdemona, satisfying Iago's huge appetite for revenge. The motive for Iago's
devious plan is initially made clear in the first of three major soliloquies, in
which he proclaims Othello has had an affair with his wife, Emilia: "And it
is thought abroad that t'wixt my sheets/ He's done my office” (I.iii.). The
irony behind this line is where he continues: "I know not if't be true/ But
I, for mere suspicion in that kind; / Will do as if for surety"(I.iii.).
Iago is so paranoid and insane that he will go far as murdering, and even fool a
general into murdering his wife. At the same time Iago conducts a plan to take
over Cassio's position as lieutenant, using Desdemona's weakness; her naivety.
He disgraces Cassio by intoxicating him enough so he strikes Roderigo. Othello
then discharges Cassio of his Lieutenancy when he says: "Cassio, I love
thee, / But nevermore be officer of mine" (II.iii.). It was therefore
understandable that he would fall to the mercy of Iago, completely unaware of
the inevitable effects. Iago reveals his plan to the reader in his third
soliloquy when he states: His soul is so unfettered to her love, That she may
make, unmake, do what she list, Even as her appetite shall play the god With his
weak function... And she for him pleads strongingly to the Moore, I'll pour this
pestilence into his ear: That she repels him for her body's lust, And by how
much she strives to do him good, She shall undo her credit with the Moor (II.iii.).
The first instance of this plan comes to life in the scene where Iago gets
Cassio drunk, but his plan begins after Othello banishes Cassio. With Cassio's
reputation ruined, Iago fools Cassio by taking advantage of the fact that he is
in a state in which he would do anything to get his job, position, and
reputation back. Iago tells him to find Desdemona to get It back: "Our
General's wife is/ now the General...She is so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed
a disposition, she holds it a vice in her/ goodness not to do more than she is
requested..." (II.iii.). Iago knows Desdemona is very naive. While Cassio
is talking to Desdemona about asking Othello to take him back, Iago is
implanting sexual images of Cassio and Desdemona in Othello's mind. The more
Desdemona pleads to Othello about this matter, the more Othello believes that
Cassio is sleeping with his wife. Also, the more he refuses Desdemona's wishes,
the more she pleads, thereby creating even more of a conflict between the three
characters. For his plan to work successfully Iago first had to carefully gain
trust from all of the characters. Since he was a master of deception, this was
not very difficult. His declarations of love he that he spoke so strongly of
throughout the play were enough to fool everyone: "I think you think I love
you...""I protest, in the sincerity of love and kindness..."
obviously he deceives the characters in the play through their words:(Othello)
"Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter...""my friend, thy
husband, honest, honest Iago..." (Cassio)"Good night honest Iago...""I
never knew a Florentine more kind and honest." The love and honesty Iago
falsely shows upon Othello and Cassio makes it an impossible idea to either that
Iago could ever set either of them up in such a way. The irony of all this is
throughout his declarations of love, Iago is deceiving them. Iago's beloved
wife, Emilia, is the one who eventually unravels her husband's plan in the
scene, but it is already too late, for Iago has gained his revenge with the
murder Of Desdemona by Othello. The relationship between Iago and Emilia is very
vague. She doesn't seem to know her husband very well and neither does he. This
is could be due to Iago's animal like attitude to love and life. He is very
individualistic, concerned only of himself and his needs. He is very
self-centered, and this is made clear in the first scene when he shouts at
Brabantio. The feelings Iago have are common jealousy. In an attempt at revenge,
he does more than Othello supposedly did to him. By putting Othello through the
same feelings he himself had gone through, he does not rid or relieve his
feelings, but merely gains sadistic pleasure from brutal revenge and that is not
to say Othello is not a flawless character. Iago’s character can be
interpreted differently by all of us because of our own imagination and
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