Othello is one of Shakespeare’s most renowned tragedies. The play is based around the character Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his wife Desdemona. Othello is manipulated by Iago, a trusted lieutenant, into believing that Desdemona has been cheating on him with Cassio, another officer. Othello kills Desdemona and then himself.
One of the most interesting aspects of Othello is Iago’s manipulation of Othello’s perception of reality. Iago is able to make Othello believe that his wife is cheating on him, even though there is no evidence to support this claim. Iago does this by exaggerating small incidents and by planting seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind. Othello is a highly emotional character and Iago uses this to his advantage, manipulating Othello until he is convinced that his wife is cheating on him.
The play shows how easily people can be manipulated by others, particularly if they are not confident in themselves. Othello is a good man who has been deceived by Iago into believing the worst about his wife. This leads to tragedy for all involved.
Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most difficult villains. At first, Iago appears to be a pure villain. It becomes clear early in Act 1 that he is capable of almost everything. He appears to be something, but he could also be something completely different.
Iago is acting as if he is interested in assisting Roderigo by bringing gifts and communications to Desdemona on his behalf. Iago is, in reality, using Roderigo, who is quite gullible and not particularly bright. Iago fools him with a joke, taking money from him as compensation for performing services for him.
Othello also takes Iago at face value, not realizing that this man is actually a dangerous villain. Othello trusts Iago implicitly, which only serves to make him easier prey for the scheming Iago. Othello does not see the true evil that Iago is capable of until it is too late.
One of the most interesting aspects of Iago’s character is his ability to create chaos and destruction. He seems to take enjoyment in ruining people’s lives. He targets Othello, Cassio and Desdemona, who are all very close to one another. His main goal is to destroy Othello by making him think that his wife has been unfaithful to him. Iago knows that Othello is a proud man and that the accusation of adultery will be too much for him to bear. Othello ends up killing Desdemona, believing that she has been unfaithful to him.
Iago is also very good at manipulating people. He uses his words to control them and get what he wants. He knows how to push people’s buttons and make them do what he wants. Othello is a perfect example of this. Iago is able to convince Othello that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, which leads to Othello firing Cassio from his job. Iago also convinces Othello that Cassio was responsible for getting Othello into a fight with Roderigo, which leads to Othello stabbing Cassio.
Iago is a master of disguise and he is able to fool everyone with his false appearances. He is able to act like he is someone he is not. Othello does not see through Iago’s lies and deceptions, which leads to disaster. The character of Iago is a perfect example of the saying “never judge a book by its cover.” You can never really trust what you see with Iago, as he always has an ulterior motive. He is very good at hiding his true intentions and making people believe that he is someone he is not.
Roderigo is convinced that Iago must have known about Desdemona’s elopement with Othello when he learns of it. He accuses me, Iago, who has had my purse as if the strings were yours, of taking it much ill (45 1-3). Iago may look Roderigo in the eye and deceive him into believing they are friends.
With his guile, he can talk his way out of a bind and even turn a bad situation around so that he is in command. Iago swears that the elopement was completely unanticipated by him. Roderigo initially remains hesitant, replying, “You told me you held him in your hatred,” (45 5). Iago takes advantage of this opportunity to speak about himself in such a manner as to relieve some of the tension on him.
He says O, sir, content you; I follow him to serve my turn upon him (45 8-9). In this way, Iago is able to make it sound like he is doing Roderigo a favor by following Othello.
Appearance vs. Reality is a central theme in Othello. Iago is able to deceive others by appearing to be one thing when he is really something else. He is able to put on different masks as needed in order to get what he wants. Othello trusts Iago and believes him when he says that he had no part in the elopement. However, Desdemona does not trust Iago and she can see through his false appearances.
She says That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this (3.4.45-46). Othello is not able to see what Desdemona sees and this leads to his downfall. Iago is very good at manipulating people and he uses this skill to get what he wants. He is not a trustworthy person and because of this, it is important to be aware of his true intentions.
When Roderigo asks Cassio why he is so bitter, he tells him about how he was overlooked for a promotion to lieutenant. He informs Roderigo that three significant Venetians attempted to persuade Othello to give his position as lieutenant to one of them. Shakespeare develops the character of Iago beyond the simple evil in this passage by adding depth to the villainous Iago by making him amoral rather than immoral. Iago is not motivated by anger or hatred like most villains, but rather by his own greed and lust for power.