As the play progresses, the tragic hero, Othello is transformed from a noble gentleman and a loving husband into an insecure, irrational murderer. At the beginning of the play, Othello is seen as a hero and a “well-respected soldier” ( ). When Brabantio tries to confront him for marrying Desdemona, Othello confidently lists his military services which he believes “shall out-tongue Brabantio's complaint” (I, II,19). Evidently, Othello is not a Venetian native. So, within his inner heart, he is fully aware of being a culturally different outsider from the rest of the Venetians.
(3.3.189-192) The fact that he believes that his wife is cheating with only implication put out by Iargo shows the fact that he is vulnerable to jealousy. Right after, with Iargo's help he believes to see undeniable proof that Desdemona is cheating with the loss of the handkerchief. Othelllo's jealousy quickly turns to anger as he struggles to survive. He accuses her and though she denies it, he does not believe her. Othello thinks he has no other way to get out of his doubt than to murder Desdemona.
At the beginning of the play, Othello assigns the lieutenant role to Cassio rather than Iago, who is Othello’s close friend. Iago believed that he was more qualified as a lieutenant, which led him to develop anger towards Othello. Also, Iago was convinced that his wife, Emilia has cheated on him with Othello, and believed that the only way to get back is to corrupt his life. This rage led him to plot an evil scheme to ruin Othello’s life as he says, “[…] put the Moor at least into a jealousy so strong that judgment cannot cure” (2. 1, 300).
Even Emilia sinks to the level of insulting Othello based on the color of his skin. The character that most commonly makes racist remarks in Othello is Iago. It is very apparent that Iago uses racism as a scapegoat to hate and blame Othello. Societal racism takes its toll on its victims. The effect of racism on Othello is quite evident and is one of the main causes for his insecurity about his marriage.
In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, The protagonist, Othello, a respected Moorish general in the army of Venice descends into murderous jealousy against his wife. Othello is initially depicted as a heroic and successful military leader whose thoughts are governed by logic and reason. Unfortunately, Othello has a few tragic flaws - he is gullible, suffers from low self-esteem because of his race and age, and like many men of that time, contemptuous of women. All these factors play a role in Othello's ultimate fall, however, Iago's exploitation of Othello's defect is the main reason that causes Othello to be driven by jealousy to the point that it consumes his entire existence that leads to the tragic outcome of the play. Iago's incessant deception and lies cause Othello's judgment to be eclipsed by insecurity, jealousy and lack of trust towards his wife leading to his tragic demise.
Othello is so envious that he would rather be a toad than share his wife with another man. Othello tries to cover up his jealousy rather than to tell his wife of the rumor and communicate the emotions he is feeling. Othello questions himself and his wife, asking “why, why is this?/ think’st I’d make a life a jealousy”(3.3.178-179). Othello lets it slip that he is indeed jealous, but he will not let it destroy his life. However, he does let jealousy take over and he murders Desdemona.
He despises Othello, because he passed him up for a promotion to be lieutenant. Iago’s villainous character is only made more clear when he is willing to make grotesque, racist comments about the leader he has always adored. “I hate the Moor: And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets, He has done my office” (I.iii.429-31). Iago expresses such deep hatred toward Othello, because he heard a rumor that he and his wife Emilia have a relationship. He does not know whether the rumor is true or not, but this is the perfect, socially accepted justification to ruin Othello’s life.
The answer falls first in his failure at receiving a promotion to lieutenant. Beyond this, we can find a deeper thought into Iago's mind of a possible suspicion that Emilia, his wife, was having an affair with Othello. Lastly, we all can see that Iago, though serious, enjoys the anger he exhibits. Iago is a troubled man with one mission, to destroy everyone, and he uses his immense hate from the wrongs against him to establish this. Before anything, we must address that Iago was disappointed that he was passed over for the position of lieutenant.
Iago used the weaknesses of others to complete his horrifying mission of destroying those above him. Iago manipulates Roderigo by using him as a pawn in his game to gain power. He also manipulates Cassio by using his flaw of becoming angry when drunk against him, a secret Cassio believed he told to a trusting friend. Othello is most clearly blindsided by Iago’s plot and no longer desires to live when he realizes he has killed his truthful wife after being told a lie. These characters all shared the common fatal flaw of trust, which lead to their downfall.
An example is when Iago seeks revenge against Othello and Cassio because of his anger and jealousy. Person vs. society appears when Desdemona's father Brabantio, disapproves her marriage to Othello because he is several years older than Desdemona, from a different class, and a different race. An internal conflict of person vs. himself is found when Othello is in a dilemma about whether or not should he believe that Desdemona is being unfaithful to him. Othello loves and trusts Desdemona until his jealousy is aroused by the cruel manipulations of Iago. Iago's intention was to persuade Othello to believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio.