Professor Carol Neely What Is Iago's Motivation In Othello

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As pop sensation Tina Turner says, “what’s love got do, got to do with it,” Professor Carol Neely responds that love has everything to do with it. Neely believes that the theme of Othello, by William Shakespeare, is marital love and the hardships of man and woman. However, Neely must have forgotten to consider the character of Iago. While the marriage of Desdemona and Othello sparks the wildfire that leads to their deaths, Iago is fanning the flames. To truly understand why Iago is the cause of conflict, we first must evaluate Iago’s motives. In the first scene of the play, Iago reveals his true feelings towards Othello, “I do hate him, I swear” (1.1 8-10). During this scene, Iago reveals his motive for destroying Othello, because he was …show more content…

In attempt to fill Othello with a jealous rage, Iago sculpts an affair between Desdemona and Cassio. Iago leads Othello to believing there is an affair by planting Othello’s precious handkerchief in Cassio’s bedroom. He also informs Othello about rumors of Cassio and Desdemona sleeping together. Iago completes his plan by using an oblivious Cassio to deceive Othello. “Now I’ll ask Cassio about Bianca / […] Whenever he talks about her he can’t stop laughing. / And when he laughs, Othello will go crazy. / In his ignorant jealousy, he’ll totally misunderstand / Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and jokes” (4.1 83-93). Iago successfully turns Othello into a man incapable of thinking straight, due to the jealous rage he is filled with. Now that Iago has ruined Othello, he uses Roderigo to get rid of Cassio. “Whether he kills Cassio, / or Cassio kills him, or they kill each other, / it all works in my favor” (5.1 13-15). With Othello’s reputation ruined, and Desdemona and Cassio dead, there is no one left to ruin Iago’s …show more content…

Without Iago, Desdemona and Othello would have had very minimal problems with their marriage. The beginning of Desdemona and Othello’s marriage was rocky, since they got married in secret. However, instead of being able to calmly explain to Brabantio what happened, Iago took it to the extremes and told him himself. Iago is the director of the Desdemona and Othello show, costarring Roderigo, Emilia and Cassio. A better theme would be, jealousy can destroy even the most sacred of relationships. Iago ruins more than just the relationship between Othello and Desdemona, he also ruins the relationship between Othello and Cassio, and Emilia and himself. The relationship between Othello and Cassio is destroyed when Iago uses Cassio as bait. “Oh, I’d kill that bastard Cassio forty thousand times if I could!” (3.3 -452). Despite the close friendship the two shared at the beginning of the play, Iago manages to destroy it. Although the relationship between Iago and Emilia was unstable from the very beginning, by the final scene it had diminished. “If he [Iago] said that, then I hope his malicious soul / rots in hell forever. He’s lying through his teeth!” (5.2 167-168). Emilia had remained loyal to Iago, even if he mistreated her, but when the play ends, she sees his true colors, and would rather die than be married to

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