Shakespeare's Othello - Honest Iago

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Othello – Honest Iago

Without a doubt, one of the main themes that runs throughout William Shakespeare’s tragic play, Othello, is that of honesty. In the play, the most interesting character is Iago, who is commonly called and known as "Honest Iago." However, this could not be farther from the truth. Through some carefully thought-out words and actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a way that benefits and moves him closer to his own goals. He is smart and an expert at judging the characters of others. Because of this, Iago pushes everyone to their tragic end.

Iago knows very well that trust and deceit must go hand in hand in order for him to achieve his vengeance on Othello and Cassio. Hence, as he plans the downfalls of them, he is continually trying to obtain their undoubting trust. He slowly poisons people’s thoughts, creating ideas in their heads without implicating himself. Iago even says himself that the advice he gives is free and honest and thus, people rarely stop to consider the possibility that Iago is fooling them.

One person Iago deceives is Roderigo. Throughout the play, Iago tells him that he hates Othello and that Roderigo should make some money so he could give gifts to Desdemona, who he admires from afar. Thinking that this is sound advice, Roderigo does just that. However, Iago is actually keeping the gifts that Roderigo plans to give Desdemona for himself. Eventually, Roderigo begins to catch on to the act and confronts Iago, but he falls right into Iago’s trap again when he tells him that killing Cassio will help him win over Desdemona. Roderigo is then lead to his death by the hands of "Honest Iago."

Like Roderigo, Cassio also believes in "Honest Iago," for he thinks that Iago is only trying to help him. On the night of Cassio’s watch, Iago convinces him to take another drink, knowing very well that it will make him drunk. Even though he really doesn’t want to, Roderigo puts his faith into Iago and states, "I’ll do’t, but it dislikes me." Iago’s plan goes smoothly when Cassio is make to look like an irresponsible fool, resulting in his termination as lieutenant.

Iago’s master plan of deception, however, centered around Othello’s jealously over Desdemona. The whole time, Othello holds Iago to be his close friend and advisor.
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