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Iago’S Intentions In Shakespeare’S Tragedy, Othello

Essay by 24  •  June 18, 2011  •  877 Words (4 Pages)  •  996 Views

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With his strong ability to manipulate, Iago uses jealousy to conquer the minds of everyone around him. His desire for power leads to the destruction of everyone around him. From every other character’s point of view, Iago held very little power, although, in actuality, Iago was the most powerful. His skill with words and his cruel actions allowed him to control all of those around him and destroy each of their lives. He is responsible for the deaths of all of the main characters: Roderigo, Cassio, Emilia, Desdemona, and Othello. The motive for this antagonist has no good reasoning, simply Iago’s own jealousy and hatred for the world.

In Act I we learn that Roderigo is giving Iago money to buy gifts for Desdemona to try to win her love. Iago manages to gain Roderigo’s trust with promises to make Desdemona notice Roderigo and fall for him. Using Roderigo’s hope for love, Iago is able to control him. In this act Iago gives his first soliloquy and the audience gets a glimpse of his true intentions. He expresses his hatred for Othello for appointing Cassio to lieutenant over him, as well as suspicion that Othello has slept with his wife. Iago goes on to describe how he will use Roderigo for his money, “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse” (I,iii). Iago also reveals his plan to ruin Othello’s love with Desdemona. Iago has many other moments throughout the play where he is alone on stage and talking as the audience hears of his evil plots. This may suggest that he talks to himself a lot, and his odd behavior hints that he may have issues with himself or with his own paranoia.

As the play continues we watch Iago find weaknesses within other characters. In Act II we learn that Cassio cannot hold his alcohol well. Iago uses this information to his own advantage to destroy Cassio’s reputation. With the celebration of the ships arriving in Cyprus, Iago is able to convince Cassio to drink. He sparks an argument between Cassio and Roderigo, and then as Montano tries to end the quarrel, Cassio stabs him. Iago convinces others that Cassio was an alcoholic and ruined his position as lieutenant, as well as his reputation. Iago has gained Cassio’s position, which allowed him to be closer with Othello. Iago spends much of his time planning how to ruin other’s lives, and he spends very little time paying attention to his own life, including his wife. He and Emilia are not close, but the realization is that there may not be anything to get close to, Iago has very little to offer anyone else because he is so selfish. He knows that his wife wants a closer relationship, and he uses this to his favor. Emilia is Desdemona’s chambermaid, and the two are very close. Iago asks Emilia to retrieve Desdemona’s handkerchief knowing that she will do what he asks. Emilia is unaware of Iago’s spiteful scheme, but obtains the handkerchief in hopes for them to become closer.

After Iago had set himself up to become Othello’s lieutenant, he was able to gain Othello’s trust enough to get inside of his mind. Iago simply questioned Desdemona’s actions, and

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