Shakespeare's Othello - Iago and Othello

Shakespeare's Othello - Iago and Othello

Length: 697 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Iago and Othello         


In Shakespeare's Othello, the character Iago, Othello's lieutenant, is the cause of all the tragedy which comes to pass as the play progresses. Iago is the antagonist of the play, but rather than being the direct opponent to the tragic hero, Iago is a manipulator, opposing Othello not directly but through other characters whom he tricks into acting for him. In the first scene of the play, Iago gives the audience warning that he is not all that he seems when he says, "I am not what I am." (I,i,65) He is first seen in this scene appearing to help Roderigo, a suitor to Desdemona, who has run off with Othello, the Moorish general of the Venician army. Iago hates Othello for another reason. Instead of choosing him to be his lieutenant, Othello chose Cassio, another foreigner, and relegated Iago to the position of his ancient. When Roderigo asks why Iago continues to serve Othello, in spite of how the general has treated him, Iago replies, "I follow him to serve my turn upon him." (I,i,42) He goes on to give an example of how he intends to serve him, by acting like the perfect servant, while secretly enriching himself, and later says, "In following him, I follow but myself." (I,i,58) From this, one might think that he is still fairly straightforward in his plans, that he merely intends to betray Othello at some later date. However, in the third scene, he shows the audience his ability to manipulate people, when he convinces Roderigo to follow him to Cyprus and to bring all of his money, presumably to win back Desdemona. After Roderigo has left to do what Iago has suggested, Iago says, "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse." (I,iii,37 y9) Later, in Act IV, we find that Roderigo has been giving jewels to Iago to give to Desdemona, which Iago, it is implied, has sold for his own uses. Thus, it is seen that Iago is merely using Roderigo to further his own ends, just as he said he was only serving Othello to serve himself. Also at the end of the third scene, Iago sets forth his plan to take Cassio's position, by telling Othello that his lieutenant ". . . is too familiar with his wife." (I,iii,402) It also comes out in this speech that he suspects Othello of committing adultery with his wife.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Shakespeare's Othello - Iago and Othello." 123HelpMe.com. 07 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=6266>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello William Shakespeare, born: 1564 died: 1616, is considered one of the greatest writers who has ever lived. He had a unique way of putting things into words. All of his plays, sonnets, and poems have gotten great recognition. But when Shakespeare wrote Othello he created one of the most controversial villains of all times; Iago. He is best described as disturbing, ruthless, and amoral. No other character can even come close to his evil (Iago: The 1). Iago, in the play Othello, is a very intriguing villain....   [tags: William shakespeare Othello Iago Essays]

Research Papers
1219 words (3.5 pages)

Iago By William Shakespeare 's Othello Essays

- Iago in William Shakespear’s play “Othello” offers a precise explanation; Iago is a hateful, havoc seeking manipulator who holds several motives behind destroying several lives. From the beginning of the play, the reader is captivated by Iago’s character of a villain. In the beginning of the play it is revealed to the reader through the conversation between Iago and Rodriguez that Iago loathes Othello because he was not assigned the position of Lieutenant. However, it seems as the story progresses, more factors come into play regarding his hate towards Othello....   [tags: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio, William Shakespeare]

Research Papers
1500 words (4.3 pages)

Iago's Mind in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago's Mind in William Shakespeare's Othello In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the character of Iago takes on the role of a person warped within his own thoughts and feelings. Although people today have the benefit of psychology, back in the 1600s people with severe psychological disorders were left un-medicated and free to roam as citizens of society. Although Iago would have benefited from medication of today, in his mind he was the best, even though his own imagination got the better of him and fed his own misguided mentality....   [tags: Iago Psychology Shakespeare Othello Essays]

Research Papers
1491 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Othello And Iago By William Shakespeare

- Conflict is a negative effect that arises when people fail to communicate. It exists in workplaces, homes, and in many places where no interaction exist amid people of different background. In Shakespeare’s Othello, many conflicts and opposition happen among close friends and enemies which shapes the plot. This results from differences in culture and races of the characters within the play. The main conflicts in the play depicts between Othello and Iago and illustrates in various ways. A character such as Iago depends on double meanings, miscommunications, and indirect meanings to show the nature of conflict....   [tags: Othello, Iago, Michael Cassio, Emilia]

Research Papers
1615 words (4.6 pages)

The Talent of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- The Talent of Iago in Othello        William Shakespeare's Othello is a tragic drama that shows the overwhelming power of deception and the damage it can lead to.  Othello's right-hand man is Iago; on the surface a die-hard friend and confidant, in reality comparable to the devil himself.  Iago uses other characters as though they were his puppets, planting lies and watching the sorrowful fruit born.  Iago deceives virtuous, yet weaker men (such as Cassio and Roderigo) with ease, but feels greatly threatened by the most powerful, virtuous general in the land - Othello.  Othello's only flaw is jealousy, and Iago exploits this to no end, using him to get what he wants.  Iago's talent to ma...   [tags: Shakespeare Othello Essays]

Research Papers
1110 words (3.2 pages)

Iago and Honesty in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago and Honesty in Othello   Iago uses the word "honest" in act three of Othello in three primary ways.  The first way he uses it is to mean honourable, about Cassio.  He uses this meaning of the word to force Othello to doubt Cassio's honesty, and question his hounorablility.  The second way is to mean faithful, both about Desdemona and Cassio.  Iago uses it in the context that the two may be "truthful," again to make Othello doubt.  The third way is Iago's most effective use, which is to use honest in the context to mean truthful, as in, he has told Othello the truth.  However, Shakespeare has created tremendous dramatic irony, for we know that Iago is being anything except truthful. ...   [tags: Othello essays Shakespeare]

Research Papers
1172 words (3.3 pages)

The Revenge of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- The Revenge of Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello In Shakespeare's "Othello," Iago carefully and masterfully entraps Othello into believing that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio. He does this through a series of suggestions and hesitations that entice and implant images into Othello's head that lead him to his own demise. More importantly, Iago gives Othello the motive to murder his own innocent wife Desdemona, satisfying Iago's immense appetite for revenge. The motive for Iago's devious plan is initially made clear in the first of three major soliloquies, in which he proclaims Othello has had an affair with his wife, Emilia: "And it is thought abroad that t'wi...   [tags: Othello essays Shakespeare]

Free Essays
1206 words (3.4 pages)

Iago as the Hero of Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago as the Hero of Othello       A Shakespearean play always includes a typical villain character. He is boisterous, egotistical, sometimes witty, and all too eager to seek revenge. In William Shakespeare Othello, Iago is the well-liked, trusted, and brave ensign of the great Venetian general Othello, or so it appears. Iago actually possesses all of the typical villainous qualities, however Iago conducts himself with great composure, and by manipulating his counterparts, he makes people believe he is on their side....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]

Research Papers
1305 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

- Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Unequivocally, Iago plays an important and major function in the tragedy of Othello. By the end of the play, Iago has been directly responsible for the deaths of Roderigo, Emilia and the protagonist and his love. Iago's importance to the play is revealed by his contribution to the plot and his significance relative to other characters. Iago's function, which invariably adds to the importance he has on the play, is to lead to the downfall of Othello therefore revealing the themes of hate, jealousy and revenge....   [tags: William Shakespeare Othello Essays]

Research Papers
2694 words (7.7 pages)

Malignant Iago of Shakespeare's Othello Essay

-     Pure evil is like a cancerous plague that harms all those who come upon it.  In the tragic play “Othello” by William Shakespeare, Iago is a character that represents pure evil – a malignant cancer to all those around him.  His evil is exposed through his choice of words, his ability to manipulate people, and his opportunistic ways.       First, Iago’s evil is shown through his choice of words that demonstrate his vulgarity and his sinister intentions.  Iago’s language is extremely base and forward; he does show any remorse or sympathy in any situation.  For example, Desdemona has recently married Othello; when Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, hears the news he becomes enraged.  To make...   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]

Research Papers
1717 words (4.9 pages)

Related Searches

Near the end of the first scene of the second act, Iago convinces Roderigo, who was observing Cassio's enthusiastic greeting of Desdemona, that Cassio and Desdemona have something going on between them. Thus manipulating Roderigo through his passion for Desdemona, Iago convinces him to provoke Cassio to anger, so that the lieutenant will be discredited in Othello's eyes and Iago can take his position. At the end of this scene, he again makes reference to his role not being what it seems: "Knavery's plain face is never seen till us'd." (II,i,324) In the last scene, after Othello has killed Desdemona, all of Iago's schemes are revealed by his wife, who was his unwitting accomplice in his schemes. After she has betrayed him, he kills her and flees, only to be caught and brought to justice. Othello's flaw, as Iago pointed out, was that he was "… of a free and open nature,/That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,/And will as tenderly be led by the nose/As asses are." (I,iii,405-408) Thus, Iago's scheming and roleplaying character made it easy for him to manipulate Othello, which led to Othello's fall. From his actions in the play, one sees that Iago is a gifted manipulator of other people who uses underhanded schemes, manipulation of others, and betrayal at appropriate times. Thus, one could say that the whole play is a parable showing the "vile success" such tactics bring, and also showing the reward awaiting those who use them. Hence, Iago in Othello is a schemer and manipulator, who causes the deaths of all of the virtuous characters in the play while attempting to advance his position and revenge himself upon Othello for a rumoured affair with his wife. He is portrayed by Shakespeare as a completely unsympathetic character.
Return to 123HelpMe.com