The play begins with a conversation between Roderigo and Iago. The opening lines are significant in that they set the tone and initiate the plot. Roderigo’s thematic purpose is portrayed through Iago’s manipulation in the lines, “Tush, never tell me! I take it much unkindly/ That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse/ As if the strings were thine shouldst know of this.” (1.1.1-3). Roderigo learns about the elopement of the Moor and Desdemona. He questions Iago in pursuit of the money he has given him in order to woo Desdemona. These lines show that even before the play begins Iago greatly influences Roderigo. The relationship and trust the two characters have is made apparent through the first lines. Iago takes enjoyment in influencing people, as seen through his first soliloquy:
Thus do I ever make my fool my purse;
For I mine own gain’d knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such a snipe
But for my sport and profit. (1.3.374-377).
Iago states that the only reason he spends time with Roderigo is for his own wealth and pleasure. His plan is to continue giving Roderigo unfulfilled promises. Iago continues to manipulate Roderigo. He convinces him that Desdemona will soon grow tired of Othello and begin to search for a younger, handsome man to fulfill her desires. Continuing to build on Rod...
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... sake of his reputation, Iago persuades Roderigo to kill Cassio. In doing so, Roderigo only injures the lieutenant. Iago sees his plan collapsing and rushes in to kill Roderigo. Betrayed by his friend, Roderigo died in pursuit of Desdemona’s love.
As a minor character, Roderigo has a significant impact on several themes such as manipulation, jealousy and betrayal. Throughout Shakespeare’s drama, Roderigo is manipulated into performing tasks in which Iago does not want to take part in. Roderigo’s jealousy towards Othello increases as the play progresses. His endless love for Desdemona leads him to his tragic death where he has be betrayed by a person in which he once called his friend. At a first glance, a minor character may appear to have an insignificant role, but upon observing them in detail, their role can be much more significant that first perceived.
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