The Role Iago Played in Othello’s Downfall

Othello is a catastrophe by William Shakespeare set in Venice. Othello is a highly respected general and Iago is his ambitious pal. Othello promotes Michael Cassio to the position of lieutenant and Iago ends up being incredibly jealous. Iago starts outlining against Othello, the eponymous hero, and turns him against his spouse, Desdemona, child of the senator of Venice, Brabantio, by informing him of her expected adultery with his lieutenant, Cassio. In a fit of envious rage, Othello smothers Desdemona to death. Emilia, Iago’s spouse, then speaks the reality of Iago’s plan to Othello and Othello lashes out in his anger by injuring Iago. He then kills himself out of sorrow for the loss of Desdemona and of regret. Iago kills Emilia out of anger at her betrayal and is detained for his criminal offenses. Iago is the tragic bad guy of the play as he works opposite to the hero and provokes the eponymous hero’s own fatal flaws, which causes the awful conclusion. Iago is considered an effective, Machiavellian bad guy and villain as he holds the majority of the lines, almost double to that of the protagonist and tragic hero, Othello, offering him power over Othello along with the space to use the optimum quantity of words to manipulate the hero into taking part in his criminal offenses. Iago plays the function of the clever bad guy as he is both cunning and manipulative. With concerns to how Iago manipulates and deceives the 6 key characters, Roderigo, Brabantio, Desdemona, Emilia, Cassio and Othello, Iago stumbles upon as the most considerable contributor to Othello’s downfall.

Iago uses Roderigo’s idiocy to utilize him as the key in beginning his campaign versus Othello. Roderigo is considered the fool of the play and is also hopelessly in love with Desdemona. Iago identifies that Roderigo is indeed an easy mark and realises that Roderigo will do anything to be with his precious Desdemona and begins to use him as a paw. Iago states to Roderigo that he too dislikes the Moor, “Roderigo– Thou informed’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate. Iago– Despise me if I do not.” (1.1.7-8). He also hints to Roderigo of how he plans to ward off Othello, “Iago– Whether I remain in any just term am affined/To enjoy the Moor. Roderigo– I would not follow him then. Iago– O sir, content you./ I follow him to serve my turn upon him.” (1.1.38-42) and for that reason telling Iago of Othello’s wrongs in picking Cassio over him, adding to Roderigo’s factors for hating Othello. Iago persuades Roderigo to speak to Desdemona’s dad and inform him of the secret marital relationship between Othello and his child understanding this will result in stress between Brabantio and Othello. Iago tricks Roderigo out of his money as well by telling him to “put money in thy/purse,” (1.3.333-334) and to put his trust in him. In his soliloquy Iago speaks to the audience acknowledging Roderigo as a “fool” (1.3.365). Using the knowledge of his love for Desdemona, Iago handles to turn Roderigo versus Cassio by informing him that “Desdemona is straight in love with him.” (2.1.210). Roderigo is talked into outraging and battling Cassio by Iago throughout Act 2.1. 250-260 stating that by doing this Roderigo will “have a much shorter journey to your/desires” (2.1.259-260) specifically Desdemona. By provoking Cassio, Roderigo handles to get him removed from his rank of lieutenant. Roderigo, however, begins to presume Iago, and Iago has to think on his feet and encourages Roderigo into getting in another duel with Cassio; “Why, by making him incapable of Othello’s place– knocking out/his brains.” (4.2.222-223) this time with the aim to end with Roderigo, Cassio or both dead. Both nevertheless survive and Iago acknowledges Roderigo as a loose cannon and for that reason eliminates him, knowing the Roderigo might jeopardise his shrewd plan, such as in Shakespeare’s play, Richard II, where Richard II hired Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, to eliminate his uncle, then maltreated Mowbray for doing so to eliminate his chance of being caught himself. The influence that Iago postures on Roderigo leads him into lowering Cassio from his ranks, which as will be checked out later, results in Othello’s failure. Hence Iago is indirectly accountable for Othello’s downfall through his exploitations of Roderigo.

Brabantio, Desdemona’s dad, is possibly Iago’s a lot of crucial victim. He is a crucial man in Venice; a Venetian senator, a popular resident and landowner. Like lots of Venetian men of the time, his reputation is the upholder of his honour. Iago assumes this as Brabantio’s weak point and he and Roderigo remove Brabantio’s honour by telling him of how his child has been stolen from him by the Moor. He compares Othello’s actions to that of a thief, taking Brabantio’s daughters virginity and virtue. Iago uses double entendre in animal imagery “Even now, now, extremely now, an old black ram/Is tupping your white ewe.” (1.1.89-90) eferring to sexual imagery of Othello and Desdemona to provoke Bradantio’s anger and embarrassment. By referring to Othello as no more than an animal, “an old black ram (1.1.89)” “a Barbary/horse” (1.1.111) Iago also reminds Brabantio “You are a senator” (1.1.118) highlighting of how this marital relationship of the Moor and Desdemona would affect Brabantio’s honour and pride as his child is a reflection of him and in the Venetian society of those times the child was property of her daddy, which Desdemona acknowledges “You are lord of all my duty;/ I am hitherto your daughter.” (1.3.182-183), and it was her dads responsibility to pass her off to an appropriate guy who deserved the child, very same social class and exact same race. This defiance on Desdemona’s part would negatively affect her daddies honour as it appears he has actually lost control. The fundamental point spoken by Brabantio is “Want to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:/ She has actually deceived her father and might thee.” (1.3.188-189), this produces a subconscious component of doubt in Othello’s mind and Iago couldn’t have prepared it better than if he ‘d stated it himself. This might be seen as the point where Othello’s failure started.

Iago likewise utilizes Cassio, Othello’s appointed lieutenant, by suggesting that Desdemona has a sexual relationship with Cassio therefore stirring Othello’s jealousy. He was chosen over Iago who resents him now for this. Iago’s motive for including Cassio into his plot is jealousy. We see Iago’s anger at being passed over for the promo in the opening act, “A fellow practically damn ‘d in a fair better half … He, in good time, should his lieutenant be,/ And I, God bless the mark, his Moorship’s ancient.” (1.1.21-33) It is likewise supposed that Iago is jealous of Cassio over his looks and appeal to which Desdemona may like, “Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath/all those essentials in him that recklessness and green minds look after./ A pestilent total knave; and the woman have actually found him/already.” (2.1.232-235) Iago concerns realize that Cassio is just the guy that most men (green minds) would be envious of and decides to utilize this versus Othello’s weak point. Another intention for Iago’s jealousy is that he believes his better half to have actually slept with Cassio, too. “For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too” (2.1.288) Iago then determines Cassio’s weak point as having low tolerance for alcohol, “I have drunk however one cup tonight, which was craftily/qualified too; and behold what development it makes here. I am/unfortunate in the imperfection and dare not job my weak point with/any more.” (2.3.32-35) and encourages the careless Cassio to have yet another beverage, blindly taking the bait. Iago utilizes this to tempt Cassio into the drunken brawl with Roderigo, which would result in his expulsion which as Iago knows that the reckless behaviour will insult Othello, “Am I to put our Cassio in some action/That might upset the isle.” (2.3.53-54). By persuading Cassio to go look for assistance into restoring his position from Desdemona, Iago can begin controling Othello into thinking that Desdemona’s factors of revealing choice over Cassio are less than honourable, leaving Iago complimentary to strengthen the sense of doubt and jealousy in Othello. Iago exposes this plan in his soliloquy, “For whiles this honest fool/Plies Desdemona to fix his fortunes,/ And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor,/ I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear:/ That she repeals him for her body’s lust.” (2.3.320-324). Iago likewise plants the token that Othello gave to his other half, the handkerchief in Cassio’s lodgings and when Othello sees this, he takes it as evidence of his partner’s infidelity. As the last straw of Othello’s tolerance grows much shorter, Iago utilizes Cassio for the last time into fooling him into speaking of Bianca, his girlfriend, whilst Othello believes he speaks of Desdemona. “And his unbookish jealousy should construe/Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behaviours/Quite in the wrong.” (4.1.99-101). Iago makes use of Cassio throughout the play to provide evidence to Othello and to increase his already present weak point of rash mood and jealousy, spurring on the process of Othello’s disgrace and once again circuitously resulting in Othello’s death as was done with Roderigo.

The 2 primary ladies of the play are used by Iago throughout his project versus Othello too and this is where the significance of the scarf can be found in. Iago asks his partner, Emilia, to take the handkerchief for him, which she does. She reveals of what importance this scarf is to the Moor as it was Desdemona’s “very first remembrance from the Moor.” (3.3.293) With the scarf in his possession, Iago speaks of how he has poisoned the Moor’s mind currently with jealousy and words of betrayal and that this handkerchief, which he will put in Cassio’s lodgings, will be seen as evidence of betrayal by the Moor. He acknowledges that Othello is currently under the impact of his manipulation in a metaphor describing his controls as poison, “I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin … As evidence of holy writ … The Moor currently changes with my poison:/ Unsafe conceits remain in their nature poisons … like the mines of sulphur.” (3.3.322-330) In the last scene when Emilia discovers Iago’s intention, she speaks them to Othello and as Othello pertains to understand her realities, he breaks down entirely out of sorrow and regret and commits suicide. Iago also experiments with Desdemona, abusing her vulnerability and naivety of mind to frustrate Othello, “So I will turn her virtue into pitch,/ And out of her own goodness make the net/That will enmesh them all.” Iago reveals that he will utilize Desdemona as the key to Othello’s failure. He knows that Desdemona’s naivety will not let her understand her hubby’s jealousy or anger and he relies on this by requiring Othello to confront Desdemona concerning the scarf. Knowing that Desdemona will deny losing it, Iago believes that Othello will see this avoidance of subject as regret: “Is’t lost? Is’t gone? Speak; is’t this out of th’way? … Zounds!” (3.4.76-93) for that reason this would validate, in Othello’s eyes, that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio which would lead him to accept Iago’s plots of their deaths out of jealousy and rage. This would be the defining moment in the play, where Desdemona and Othello’s fates are decided.

Maybe Iago’s the majority of affecting victim of all is Othello himself. Through strong images and language, Iago handles to manipulate Othello into thinking that Desdemona has actually certainly tricked him. Iago begins his adjustment by ways of an outburst which he then attempts to reclaim, “Ha! I like not that!” (3.3.34) describing Othello and him seeing Desdemona and Cassio speaking alone. This outburst warranties Othello’s attention and Iago can start losing consciousness his “medication.” Iago recognizes Othello’s weaknesses being jealousy and temper. He utilizes multiple techniques to draw these emotions out into the open. Iago starts to lodge littles doubt into Othello, asking why Cassio steals away from them looking guilty. (3.3.48) Iago replays Brabantio’s initial caution advising Othello that “She did trick her daddy, weding you; And when she seemed to shake and fear your looks/She liked them most.” (3.3.207-208). Their secret marriage links to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where Juliet eloped with her Romeo, for that reason deceiving her father. Their marital relationship went against the society of their time and ended in both of their deaths. In a manner the secret marriage of Desdemona and Othello foreshadows a fatal outcome when compared to the fates of Romeo and Juliet. When Othello requests for proof, Iago tells him of how Cassio once lay next to him and in the night mentioned entering into adultery with Desdemona. “I lay with Cassio lately … fate that offered thee to the Moor.'” (3.3.414-427) He utilizes sexual imagery of how Cassio tried to kiss him and provide himself to Iago. This further angers Othello. Iago likewise mentions seeing Cassio wipe his beard with the scarf that Othello had given to Desdemona. When Desdemona can not produce the scarf (as Iago has actually stolen it) Othello’s suspicions become higher, as does his jealousy. In Act 4 Scene 1 Othello remains in concealing and sees Bianca technique Cassio with his scarf, in Othello’s eye’s this validates his suspicion. Hearing Iago and Cassio mention Bianca in such negative terms, by describing as “poor rogue” “monkey”, and referring to her actions of how she tossed herself at him (4.1.128-131), he believes that they speak of Desdemona, outraging him further. Iago persuades Othello that Desdemona requires to be eliminated. “If you are so fond over her iniquity, offer her patent to anger;/ for if it touch not you, it comes near nobody.” (4.1.186-187)

Seeing the way that Iago has managed to manipulate and trick each and every character in Othello by acknowledging their vulnerability and weak points, we see how each deception played a part in Othello’s downfall through the exploitation of their weak points. Iago played on their weaknesses and used them to heighten Othello’s jealousy and temper which eventually resulted in his failure. So although it was the hero’s own flaws that in the end did lead to his end, it was undoubtedly Iago who started the coming out of these flaws and had actually done whatever he possibly might to bring Othello down as we see in the last scene where Othello’s anger and jealousy set off by Iago, result in him eliminating his partner and himself. As Iago’s role of being the creative villain causes Othello’s death, we can therefore say that it was certainly accomplished out of cunning the other characters into trusting him, deceiving Othello into believing that Iago was undoubtedly “honest” , hatred towards Cassio and Othello which bloomed out of jealousy; and good luck.

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