Iago's Motives In Othello

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Shakespeare has created some marvelous villains in his plays. From the greedy and cold hearted jew, Shylock, in The Merchant of Venice to the Charismatic and backstabbing king, Claudius, in Hamlet. Out of all the antagonist that Shakespeare has written into the pages of his plays my personal favorite is Iago the intelligent and manipulative soldier from Othello. The way Shakespeare illustrates the character of Iago and his motives for ruining the lives of the other characters such as Othello and Cassio raises the question. Do Iago’s motives justify the course of actions he takes? Throughout the play, Iago commits heinous acts of manipulation and betrayal due to the fact that he despises Othello, however, the reasons for this hate are often…show more content…
He achieves this by purposely misinterpreting scenarios he created. One example is when Iago shows Othello that Cassio is talking to Desdemona. Shakespeare employs dramatic irony as the audience knows that Iago is the one who told Cassio to talk to Desdemona as she may have some way of convincing Othello to give Cassio his job back as the lieutenant. Iago purposely misinterprets their meeting telling Othello that they are having an affair. At first, Othello is reluctant to admit he is jealous even saying he isn't the type to get jealous after Iago warn him that “ jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock / the meat it feeds on.”(3.3.170-173) However, Iago is able to change Othello by spreading rumors about Desdemona and classifying her as a woman of Venice and how they are all unloyal to their men. As the play goes on Othello starts to speculate more about the affair between Cassio and Desdemona, Iago starts to use the truth that Othello knows and twist them. Truths such as Desdemona and Cassio talk a lot or the age gap between Othello and Desdemona. Little truths that to anyone else would be meaningless however the way Iago twist this truth leads Othello insane with…show more content…
After Othello gets what he considers valid proof of the affair in the form of a conversation and a handkerchief.The original handkerchief holds major significant value to Othello as he tells Desdemona “Did an Egyptian to my mother give; She was a charmer, and could almost read The thoughts of people: she told her, while she kept it, ’Twould make her amiable and subdue my father Entirely to her love, but if she lost it Or made gift of it, my father’s eye Should hold her loathed and his spirits should hunt.” (3.4.47-54) Othello applied this same rule of the handkerchief to himself and Desdemona. Iago used this symbol of their love and transformed it to the breaking point for Othello. Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona has given Cassio his handkerchief when in reality it was Iago who left it in his room. Othello asks Desdemona for the handkerchief but in order to avoid angering Othello, she tries to change topics and get Cassio his former job back. Which only angered Othello more as his jealousy rose with her constant mentioning of Cassio. This jealousy kept building up till Othello finally kills Desdemona by smoothing her with a pillow. Iago was able to push Othello to the point of murdering the woman he once loved. He was also successful in killing Rodrigo, Emilia and Othello as the Moor kills himself once it is revealed that Desdemona was innocent all along and
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