Iago's Influence On Othello

436 Words2 Pages
Iago is a unique and complicated character. He is intelligent in that he is able to manipulate people and events in his favour, which he thrives on throughout the play, classifying him as the antagonist of the play. Driven by jealousy and hatred, Iago plots against Othello to destroy his character and reputation. Knowing that if he foolishly attacked such a respected man directly, he would be sentenced to death. As a result, he devises to use other people to obtain what he desires by influencing the characters in the play to suit his plan. Firstly, Iago plays God by exploiting other characters’ emotions, motives and wants. He abuses their trust in him while they unknowingly are a part of his overall plan to destroy Othello. Iago slowly poisons…show more content…
For example, Iago takes notice when he sees Cassio kiss Desdemona’s hand before Othello’s arrival at Cyprus. Kissing a hand in the 17th century was a sign of close relationship, and Iago uses this to influence Othello to believe that Cassio loves Desdemona. He influences Cassio to drink while he is on watch duty, knowing that Othello would dismiss him. Cassio tells Desdemona to ask Othello to reinstate his position knowing well that this would infuriate Othello and lead him to be more suspicious of Desdemona’s loyalty. All the incidents that follow fall into place making it easy for Othello to trust Iago’s lies. Thus, Iago has been described by critics as a director; although Iago should rather be described as a symbol of Satan, as he is sly and cunning in his ways, has selfish desires and will take any measure to achieve his goal, even murder. Iago is shown throughout the play to be the true mastermind behind an intricate plot to destroy his master, Othello, of which he is successful, but only through his characteristics, abilities and ingeniousness which allow him to take control of the direction of the
Open Document