Essay, Research Paper: Othello And Iago Evilness


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There are evil people in this world; greedy, manipulative, overbearing and
jealous. Iago, in William Shakespeare's Othello, is an evil, malignant
character. He uses people's goodness, integrity, and ignorance to get what he
wants. When Othello's position is higher through character and status, Iago
becomes jealous and decides that Othello must be eliminated. Iago is aware of
the jealousy inside himself. Othello is a good man at heart, but is not aware of
his evil and jealousy, and therefore will not be able to control it. Iago takes
advantage of this and uses Othello's trust to manipulate Othello into revealing
his true character. Iago, like any great manipulator, moves indirectly so he is
never suspected. He uses Roderigo to get to Cassio, Desdemona, and Othello. Once
the peace is disrupted, Iago moves directly to Othello. Everyone trusts Iago and
believes that he is trying to do the best for them. Iago uses Roderigo to get
Cassio in trouble with Othello. Since Roderigo is in love with Desdemona,
"I confess it is my shame to be so found (of Desdemona)"(Act 1. Sc 3.
Ln 360), Iago tells Roderigo that Cassio is in love with her and she in love
with Cassio. "Desdemona is directly in love with him."(Act2. Sc1.
Ln240) This upsets Roderigo and he is more prone to fight Cassio when told by
Iago to do so. Roderigo does not just have Othello to compete with anymore; he
has Cassio as well. Iago tells Roderigo that he can win Desdemona from Cassio by
fighting and from Othello by following her to Cyprus. So Roderigo listens to and
trusts the man, fights Cassio, sells his land and brings Iago to Cyprus. After
the fight Cassio is dismissed from his office by Othello. Iago wins. Cassio is
in trouble, is no longer Othello's lieutenant and Iago is in Cyprus with
Othello. He then moves in on Cassio. Cassio is another step closer for Iago's
plan to cause Othello's demise. Iago convinces Cassio to ask Desdemona,
Othello's wife, to help in reinstating him. By Cassio asking Desdemona for help,
the two have times when they are together, and Desdemona decides to support
Cassio. Cassio goes to Desdemona for reinstatement to his lieutenancy because
Iago tells him that it is best to not go directly to Othello. "Confess
yourself freely to her. Importune her help to put you in your place
again."(act2.sc3.ln357). Cassio trusts the "honest Iago" and
asked Desdemona for her helped. This will later cause Othello's jealously to
escalate. After the fight between Roderigo and Cassio, Othello turns to Iago for
help, which Iago gives after a little hesitation. "Honest Iago, that looks
dead with grieving, speak. Who began this?" "I do not know…I can not
speak any beginning to this peevish odds…. Cassio following him with
determined sword to execute him. (Act 2. Sc3. Lns189-243)." Now that Cassio
is on Othello's bad side and Iago is on his good side, Iago goes in for
"the kill." Othello is being manipulated and lied to by Iago. Iago
puts ideas of Cassio's adulterous behavior with Desdemona in Othello's mind,
lets it simmer, then backs it up with lies and orchestrates scenarios that look
to be the truth. Othello's trust for human kind and good nature proves to be
detrimental in this instance and ends in his death. Othello had been the top dog
in Venice. He was an honorable black general, frightening, but respected. He had
had a wonderful army and loving, beautiful wife, who all followed orders. He had
had everything Iago wanted, and Iago hated him for it. " I hate the
Moor."(act1.sc3.ln429). At first Iago just wants Cassio's lieutenancy, but
when he gets it he goes for Othello, too. Iago uses Othello's superficial
goodness to strip him of all his self respect and confidence with his suggestion
of Desdemona's betrayal. Othello's goodness is not real integrity and good
character. He is fake to himself and to others. Othello touches and deals with
everything on a superficial level. He never goes deeply into relationships.
Othello is the general of an army; he never really gets to know his soldiers,
but is respected by them. His wife, Desdemona, doesn't fall in love with Othello
for any sexual reason, but rather for his courage and honesty. Othello's
goodness is easier to break because he is not aware of it. Othello is blindly
assaulted and broken by Iago. Iago manipulates the fallen Othello, by putting
more and more ideas into his head: ideas like the handkerchief, "She gave
it (the handkerchief) to him." (9act4.sc1.195), or Cassio's dream about
Desdemona, "In his sleep I heard him say, 'Sweet Desdemona, let us hide our
loves."(act3.sc3.ln475). Soon Othello's inner evil grows out of control and
he has a complete breakdown. When he awakens, revenge is all he wants. He is no
longer trusting and full of integrity, but full of hate and despair. Iago has
succeeded in destroying the moral essence of Othello. Jealousy is one of the
root features to evil. If Iago had never implanted the idea of adultery in
Othello, no one would have died. But Iago was jealous, and the only way to cure
his jealously was to pass it on to someone else, someone with higher stature,
integrity, and confidence. Someone he envied, someone like the Moor.
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