Othello Essay, Research Paper
The Different Sides of Iago?s Character
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 end. More importantly, Iago gives Othello the motive to murder his own innocent wife Desdemona, satisfying Iago’s huge 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’wixt my sheets/ He’s done my office? (I.iii.). The irony behind this line is where he continues: “I know not if’t be true/ But I, for mere suspicion in that kind; / Will do as if for surety”(I.iii.). Iago is so paranoid and insane that he will go far as murdering, and even fool a general into murdering his wife.
At the same time Iago conducts a plan to take over Cassio’s position as lieutenant, using Desdemona’s weakness; her naivety. He disgraces Cassio by intoxicating him enough so he strikes Roderigo. Othello then discharges Cassio of his Lieutenancy when he says: “Cassio, I love thee, / But nevermore be officer of mine” (II.iii.). It was therefore understandable that he would fall to the mercy of Iago, completely unaware of the inevitable effects. Iago reveals his plan to the reader in his third soliloquy when he states:
His soul is so unfettered to her love,
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
Even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function…
And she for him pleads strongingly to the Moore,
I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear:
That she repels him for her body’s lust,
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her credit with the Moor (II.iii.).
The first instance of this plan comes to life in the scene where Iago gets Cassio drunk, but his plan begins after Othello banishes Cassio. With Cassio’s reputation ruined, Iago fools Cassio by taking advantage of the fact that he is in a state in which he would do anything to get his job, position, and reputation back. Iago tells him to find Desdemona to get It back: “Our General’s wife is/ now the General…She is so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her/ goodness not to do more than she is requested…” (II.iii.). Iago knows Desdemona is very naive.
While Cassio is talking to Desdemona about asking Othello to take him back, Iago is implanting sexual images of Cassio and Desdemona in Othello’s mind. The more Desdemona pleads to Othello about this matter, the more Othello believes that Cassio is sleeping with his wife. Also, the more he refuses Desdemona’s wishes, the more she pleads, thereby creating even more of a conflict between the three characters. For his plan to work successfully Iago first had to carefully gain trust from all of the characters. Since he was a master of deception, this was not very difficult. His declarations of love he that he spoke so strongly of throughout the play were enough to fool everyone: “I think you think I love you…”"I protest, in the sincerity of love and kindness…” obviously he deceives the characters in the play through their words:(Othello) “Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter…”"my friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago…” (Cassio)”Good night honest Iago…”"I never knew a Florentine more kind and honest.”
The love and honesty Iago falsely shows upon Othello and Cassio makes it an impossible idea to either that Iago could ever set either of them up in such a way. The irony of all this is throughout his declarations of love, Iago is deceiving them.
Iago’s beloved wife, Emilia, is the one who eventually unravels her husband’s plan in the scene, but it is already too late, for Iago has gained his revenge with the murder Of Desdemona by Othello.
The relationship between Iago and Emilia is very vague. She doesn’t seem to know her husband very well and neither does he. This is could be due to Iago’s animal like attitude to love and life. He is very individualistic, concerned only of himself and his needs. He is very self-centered, and this is made clear in the first scene when he shouts at Brabantio.
The feelings Iago have are common jealousy. In an attempt at revenge, he does more than Othello supposedly did to him. By putting Othello through the same feelings he himself had gone through, he does not rid or relieve his feelings, but merely gains sadistic pleasure from brutal revenge and that is not to say Othello is not a flawless character. Iago?s character can be interpreted differently by all of us because of our own imagination and understanding.