Othello Essay: Iago’s Acts of Character Manipulation

Othello Essay: Iago’s Acts of Character Control

Iago’s Strategic Acts of Character Control W. H. Auden when said, “There is more than fulfills the eye”, recommending that there may be a surprise or deeper meaning behind a person’s preliminary look. Lies and deceits are common in society, and many people mask their real intents with a veneer. In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the character Iago is no different from those deceptive individuals. Behind his exterior as a credible ensign and friend, Iago is a multilayered, deceptive and manipulative bad guy, concocting mayhem and causing accidents to other characters for revenge.

Iago uses his deft and astute strategic acts of manipulation to weaken each character’s weaknesses. He makes use of Roderigo’s love for Desdemona, encourages Cassio under the guise of relationship, and dabble Othello’s mind by using his self-doubt. Obviously, Iago controls the people around him by using their weak points: Roderigo’s naivete, Cassio’s relying on nature, and Othello’s insecurity, against them. Firstly, Iago utilizes Roderigo’s gullible and naive personality to his advantage. Roderigo’s fascination and desire for Desdemona renders him susceptible to Iago’s manipulation.

This obsession triggers him to unquestioningly think anything Iago states in hopes of getting Desdemona. Initially, Iago fools Roderigo of his fortune. He encourages him that the gold and gems will be given to Desdemona as a pronouncement of his love when in actuality, Iago prepares to keep it for himself. Iago states: “Hence do I ever make fool my purse” (Shakespeare, I. iii. 374). Seemingly, Iago benefits from Roderigo’s devotion by fooling him of his money. Likewise, Iago utilizes Roderigo again by persuading him to kill Cassio. Although Roderigo is reluctant initially, he relents once Iago insists that this will win him Desdemona.

Roderigo states: “I have no excellent devotion to the deed/ And yet he hath offered my gratifying reasons./ ‘T is but a male gone. Forth, my sword: he dies” (V. i. 8-10). Seemingly, gullible Roderigo succumbs to Iago’s mendacity and attempts to eliminate Cassio. Eventually, Iago chooses to kill Roderigo. Iago mercilessly specifies: “I have actually rubbed this young quat nearly to the sense,/ And he grows angry/ May unfold me to him-there stand I in much danger./ No, he must pass away. But so, I hear him coming” (V. i. 11-23). This represents how Iago ruthlessly takes advantage of absurd Roderigo for his own requirements and gets rid of im once his value is used up. In general, Roderigo is a pawn in Iago’s schemes, controlled and enslaved through his blind desire for Desdemona (Baker and Womack 1538). Therefore, Iago makes use of Roderigo’s naivete and obsession with Desdemona by tricking and controling him in order to bring about the failure of the other characters. Second of all, Iago takes advantage of Cassio’s trusting nature by pretending to be his friend while clandestinely misleading him. At first, Iago pressures Cassio to consume, getting him intoxicated to cause a fracas. As an outcome, Othello demotes Cassio from his high-ranking position as lieutenant.

Cassio’s track record is of utmost value to him, and having just been demoted exposes him to Iago’s plans. In fact, in spite of Iago lagging Cassio’s intoxicated confrontation, he backstabs Cassio by telling Montano that Cassio is a drinking addict. Iago mentions to Montano: “Tis evermore the prologue to his sleep. He’ll watch the horologe a double set/ If beverage rock not his cradle” (II. iii. 115-118). Iago purposefully slanders Cassio to reduce his credibility despite appearing to be Cassio’s pal. With this in mind, Iago even more plots against Cassio by encouraging im with harmful intents. He offers Cassio hope of getting his position back by informing him to plead to Othello’s partner, Desdemona. Although, this might appear like legitimate suggestions to Cassio, Iago plans to utilize this in his ploy to bring him down. Iago interest Cassio’s relying on nature: “I object, in the genuineness of love and truthful generosity” (II. iii. 309) however follows it up in his soliloquy by sardonically saying: “And what’s he then that states I play the villain?/ When this suggestions is complimentary I give and truthful,/ Probal to thinking and undoubtedly the course,/ To win the Moor again?” (II. iii. 245-248).

Seemingly, Iago intentionally ill-advises Cassio and prepares to utilize Cassio’s actions to insinuate that he desires Desdemona. In a sense, Iago is the devil in camouflage, taking advantage of Cassio’s trusting nature. Just like he uses Roderigo’s gullible nature to turn him into a pawn, Iago manages to do the exact same to trusting and unknowing Cassio. In other words, Iago manipulates Cassio by taking advantage of his relying on nature to offer him bad suggestions under the guise of relationship. Lastly, Iago uses Othello’s personal insecurities to cause his downfall. Othello is especially a castaway, being the black male in a white society.

Throughout the entire play, he is referred to as “The Moor”, with his skin colour leading to unfavorable preset presumptions and triggering the association of savage animalistic qualities. A lot more so, his relationship with Desdemona is “in a period when such a marital relationship would be uncommon and controversial” (Baker and Womack 1534). As a result of society’s prejudice, Othello’s self-esteem decreases, enabling Iago to take advantage of his insecurity to conjure up the feeling of jealousy in Othello. To start off, Iago insinuates that Desdemona is unfaithful to Othello, as she chooses just people of her type’, a class Othello will never belong. Iago convincingly mentions: “As, to be strong with you,/ Not to affect lots of proposed matches/ Of her own clime, skin tone, and degree,/ Whereto we see in all things nature tends” (III. iii. 232-236). By the same logic, Desdemona would prefer Cassio, who is like her in age, race, and class, as opposed to Othello who is older, black and unattractive (1538 ). Likewise, Iago utilizes Desdemona’s gender and past to encourage Othello of her cheating. Iago states: “She did deceive her father, marrying you,/ And when she seemed to shake and fear your looks,/ She liked them most” (III. iii. 210-213).

He points that Desdemona, having betrayed her daddy, is likely to betray Othello. Combined with the understanding that women of that time duration were unvirtuous and unfaithful, this ideas Othello over the edge. Piece by piece, Iago wears down Othello’s layers and places a heavy cape of doubt and jealousy on him, much like a thunderous cloud over someone’s head. Additionally, Iago muddles with Othello’s mind to a level where Othello believes no one however Iago. He cocoons Othello with a coat of lies, using his doubt and jealousy to turn him against Desdemona. Othello states: “Oh, damn her, damn her!/ Come, choose me apart.

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I will withdraw/ To furnish me with some quick ways of death/ For the fair devil. Now art thou my lieutenant” (III. iii. 482-485). Undoubtedly, Othello shapes a world of reality from Iago’s lies, and promotes Iago to his desired position as lieutenant. Paradoxically, Othello accepts Iago’s lies and thinks them to be the fact however thinks Desdemona’s truthful pleas to be a lie. In essence, Iago takes advantage of Othello’s insecurity to cradle him in a deceitful environment, and “dehumanizes the honorable general, making him into a brute versus his own partner” (1538 ). Hence, Iago dabble Othello’s mind by using his insecurity versus him.

In closing, Iago weakens each characters weak point to be successful in his strategic schemes versus them. The gullible fool Roderigo, relying on Cassio and insecure noble Moor all fall for Iago’s wiles, highlighting his conniving nature and ability to diabolically manipulate characters to his doing. Iago is much like a spider, twisting his victim much deeper while spinning his web of lies around them. All in all, Iago masterminds the downfall and deaths of numerous, and now he copes with the repercussions of his actions and the weight of all the deaths he caused on his shoulders. Works Cited Baker, William, and Womack, Kenneth. The Facts On File Companion to Shakespeare, 5-Volume Set.” New York City: Realities On File, 2012. Infobase eBooks. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Roma Gill. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print. Functions Consulted Christofides, R. M. “Iago And Equivocation: The Seduction And Damnation Of Othello.” Early Modern Literary Research Studies (2010 ): 6. Literary Reference Center. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. Feather, Jennifer. “O Blood, Blood, Blood”: Violence And Identity In Shakespeare’s Othello.” Middle ages & & Renaissance Drama In England 26. (2013 ): 240-263. Literary Reference Center. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

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