Othello- Iago As villain in Shakespeares play Othello, Iago has two main actions.
They are to plot and to deceive. Iago hates Othello for two reasons. He believes that Othello made love to his wife, and Iago is mad that Cassio was chosen to be Lieutenant instead of himself. From this hate comes the main conflict of the play.Iago plans to ruin Othello by carrying out a plan based on lies and deceit. This plan will make Iago the only person that Othello believes he can trust, and Iago will use this trust to manipulate Othello.
First, Iago plans to remove Cassio from his position as lieutenant so that he himself take over Cassios position as confidant and Lieutenant to Othello. Then Iago hopes to convince Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. If Iagos plan unfolds properly, he will be granted the revenge that he believes he deserves. Iagos plan and his motives are disclosed through a series three of conversations.He speaks with Roderigo twice and Cassio once. These three conversations show how Iago manipulates others to gain his own ends, and they also give motives for Iagos behavior.
The conversations all follow the same pattern. Iago first speaks with Roderigo and Cassio to forward his plan, and then Iago has a soliloquy in which he discusses his motives. Iago states that the reasons for his hate are that Othello slept with Emilia and Cassio was chosen to be Othellos Lieutenant.
However, Iagos actions lead to ends that do not revenge his given motives. Coleridge calls Iagos actions the motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity . In other words, Iagos only reason for destroying Othello is that Iago is an inherently bad person. The conversations that Iago has with Roderigo and Cassio show that Iago invents reasons for his actions against Othello, so that his own selfish ends can be met. Iagos first dialog with Roderigo serves as an introduction to Iagos plan.
In this scene the reader learns that Roderigo is in love with Desdemona, because he threatens to drown himself when he learns that Othello and Desdemona are engaged.Uses Roderigos weakness to help him remove Cassio from his lieutenant position. Iago tells Roderigo to put money in thy purse (333) . Iago believes that Othello and Desdemona will not be together for a very long time since Othello is a Moor and Desdemona is an aristocrat. Iago urges Roderigo to earn money now so that he can be an eligible suitor when Desdemona is looking for another husband. This conversation and the soliloquy following it introduce the two different sides of Iago. Iago tells Roderigo what he wants to hear in order to enlist his help.
However, in the following soliloquy the reader is introduced to what Iago really has planned. He states that he would never associate with someone like Roderigo except to gain his own ends. Thus do I ever make my fool my purse–/ For I mine own gained knowledge should profane/ If I would time expand with such a snipe/ But for my sport and profit (365-368). Iago feels that Roderigo is a foolish man who exists only for Iagos use or sport. This idea a strengthened by the word snipe.The Arden Shakespeare defines snipe as fool (p. 159) and states that the word meant gull or dupe (p.
159) before Shakespeare. These definitions emphasize the fact that Iago feels no respect for Roderigo and is manipulating Roderigo only to further his plan. In the same speech, Iagos real plan is revealed only to the audience.Iago wants to convince Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are in love. They are the two people that Othello trusts, and if Othello believes that they have turned on him, this will lead to his downfall. Iago plans to tell Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair.
Cassio is a ladies man, and Iago believes that Cassios charm makes women fall in love with him. Iago will make the innocent flirtations of Cassio and Desdemona seem like secret love to Othello.After some time to abuse Othellos ears/ That he is too familiar with his wife/ He hath a person and a smooth dispose/ To be suspected, framed to make women false (378-380). Iago planted a seed of hope in Roderigo, and the next time they speak Iago uses this hope to turn Roderigo against Cassio. In this scene Iago tells Roderigo that Desdemona is directly in love with [Cassio] (215).
From there previous discussion, Roderigo believes that he will be with Desdemona when she is no longer with Othello. Here, Roderigo learns that he has competition, and this information is given to Roderigo only because Iago hopes that Roderigo will initiate a fight with Cassio. This fight will get Cassio in trouble and hopefully remove him from his position.Cassio is not an agressive soldier like Iago, and he has to be tricked and provoked in order to fight. When Cassio fights with Roderigo, Iago will create a riot in Cyprus and blame the cause on Cassio. Cassios uncharacteristic agression is what ultimately removes his from his position as lieutenant.
Sir, hes rash and very sudden in choler, and haply may strike at you. Provoke him that he may, for even out of that will I cause these of Cyprus to mutiny, whose qualification shall come into no true taste again but by the displanting of Cassio (261-264). The New Arden Shakespeare defines qualifications as condition, nature or pacification (180) and uses the word trust instead of taste.When taste is used, the line says that the people of Cyprus will not feel comfortable with their nature until Cassio is removed from his position. In contrast, when trust is used, Iagos words say that the people of Cyprus will not be able to trust authorities again until Cassio is no longer Lieutenant. While Cassio is fighting, Iago is using the violence to create a riot in Cyprus and unnerve the people. Cassio is blamed for this riot, and order cannot be restored until he is no longer Lieutenant.
The word trust makes more sense in this sentence, because Cassio lost the trust of the masses when he acted with aggression.He was always a well mannered and peaceful man, and now the people of Cyprus do not know who he really is. In the soliloquy following Roderigos exit, Iago reveals the real reasons for his plotting against Othello. Iago says that Othello slept with Emilia, Iagos wife, and he feels that he must even the score with Othello by sleeping with Desdemona. If Iago fails to woo Desdemona, he plans to prove to Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair.
Iago hope that this information will make Othello forever jealous.For that I do suspect the lusty Moor/ Hath leapt into my seat, the thought whereof/ Doth, like a poisonous mineral, gnaw my inwards/ And nothing can or shall content my soul/ Till I am evened with his, wife for wife–/ Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor/ At least into a jealousy so strong/ That judgement cannot cure (282-288). This soliloquy shows that Iago has no real motives for his actions. T …