Shakespeare’s Othello seems to be based entirely around jealousy. This jealous reaches its head in Act IV Scene 1. It seems that the play has been building up to this scene. Othello and Iago seem to have switch leadership position. Everything, at this point, is going right for Iago. One might argue Iago’s power is at a maximum when Othello and Iago are kneeling and vowing to each other, but it would seem that the climax of Iago’s power is truly when his whole plan finally comes together and everything seems to be going according to plan.
To begin the scene, Iago is putting images in Othello’s head about Desdemona’s supposed infidelities. He repeatedly brings up Othello’s gift to Desdemona: the handkerchief. Iago, in this conversation, tries to get Othello to see Desdemona as the handkerchief by saying, “Why, then ‘tis hers, my lord, and being hers, she may, I think, bestow’t on any man” (4.1.12-13). Othello, in his heightened state, will not take that statement at face value. Othello would, and did, take that statement as saying that Desdemona can give herself away to any man.
At the beginning, Iago did not tell any lies, but put the ideas in Othello’s head. At one point, Iago blatantly lies and states that Cassio lied “with her, on her; what you will” (4.1.34). He not only lied, he put the image of Cassio on Desdemona in Othello’s head. At this point, Othello loses control connecting all the ideas that Iago puts into his head, and he eventually falls into a seizure. At this point, the leader role has completely been reversed. From here on, Iago is in charge. Iago now thinks for Othello, and Othello listens to him.
Soon after Othello falls into his trance, Cassio enters. Iago quickly dismi...
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... knowing of Othello’s marriage in the beginning, and it is as if Iago is allowing him to see how bad the marriage has turned out. Lodovico is originally sent there to tell Othello that he is being sent back to Venice, but it reality, Lodovico is there to witness the tragedy unfold.
Iago seems to be in the leader position throughout Act IV Scene I. He is commanding the room and calling the shots. Othello, who should be in control, seems to be in the mercy of Iago. The climax of Iago’s power is enhanced with the presence of certain characters, Bianca and Lodovico, and the handkerchief. They make Iago’s job easier of commanding people and convincing them of untruths. All scenes before this one seem to lead up to Iago’s power. He planned and it seems his plans worked to this point. After this scene, Iago seems to be enjoying his success, until he is not anymore.
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