Shakespeare's Othello - There Would be No Othello Without Iago

Though the name of the play written by William Shakespeare is called "Othello," the character Othello is not the main character, but rather Iago is. Iago is the character who drives the play, he is the one who makes things happen. Without his greed and hated, there would be no play at all. The whole play is centered around Iago's revenge and in doing so, he is willing to make other people's lives miserable. Through "Othello," Iago uses the other characters to avenge the wrong doings which Othello has inflicted upon him, and will go to any means to do so. 

           The play starts out with Iago not attaining the position he wanted from Othello, but rather the position was given to Cassio, who in Iago's mind is unqualified for the job. This is where Iago starts to spin his web of destruction. Iago hates Othello with a passion, and in his heart he truly believes that Othello has slept with his wife Emilia. "I hate the Moor, and it is abroad that 'twixt my sheets 'has done my office" Othello. Act I. iii. 429-431. Being placed aside for the lieutenant position made him even more mad. He then decided on a plan and took full action upon it "to abuse Othello's ear that he (Cassio) is too familiar with his (Othello's) wife" Othello. Act I. iii. 438-439. 

           Roderigo was Iago's puppet. He believed everything that Iago told him and always did as he said, which in the end got him killed. Through the play one wonders often why Roderigo keeps following Iago's demands, and it was because he truly loved Desdemona. He was willing to kill himself if he couldn't have her "it is silliness to live, when to live is torment" Othello. Act I. iii. 350. Iago used this knowledge and made Roderigo to believe that if he did what he was told, in the end he would really have her, but in turn for following Iago's advice, he lost his land, he lost his money, he lost his life. Iago used Roderigo till the end and felt no remorse for it what so ever. 

           Iago not only wanted revenge on Othello, but as well on Cassio for stealing his job away from him. "If I can fasten buy one cup upon him, with which he hath drunk tonight already, he'll be as full of quarrel and offense as my young mistress' dog" Othello. Act II. iii. 49-52. Iago got Cassio so drunk that he got into a fight with another officer, and when Othello found out about this, he quickly fired him. Iago, befriending Cassio, told him to speak to Desdemona about getting his job back and this was done for a reason. Iago states his motives clearly. He intended to use Desdemona's righteousness against her. 

"For whiles this honest fool (Cassio) Plies for Desdemona to repair his fortune, And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, I'll pour this pestilence into his ear: That she repeals him for her body's lust; And by how much she strives to do him good, She shall undo her credit with the Moor. So will I turn her virtue into pitch, And out of her own goodness make the net That shall enmesh them all." Othello Act II. iii. 373-382. 

           Desdemona's handkerchief plays a large role in Iago's web of destruction. Upon losing the handkerchief which Othello has given her, Emilia finds it and gives it to Iago who then places it in Cassio's room, and then tells the Moor that Desdemona had given it to him. This was one of the many so-called proofs to come of how Desdemona was sleeping with Cassio. Iago outright continuously lies to Othello, and Othello like a fool, believes every word he says to him. 

"In sleep I heard him say "Sweet Desdemona, Let us be wary, let us hide our loves. And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand, Cry "O sweet creature!" then kiss me hard, As if he plucked up kisses by the roots That grew upon my lips; then laid his leg Over my thigh, and sighed, and kissed, and then Cried "Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!" Othello. Act III. iii. 475-482. 

           Iago continued to torment Othello with vivid descriptions of Desdemona's alleged sexual affair with Cassio until Othello blacks out. Iago then placed Othello where he could see but not hear a conversation with Cassio about Bianca, telling Othello that the conversation was about Desdemona. "Now I will question Cassio of Bianca. He, when he hears of her, cannot restrain from the excess of laughter. As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad, and his unbookish jealousy must construe poor Cassio's smiles, gestures, and light behaviors quite in the wrong" Othello. Act IV. I. 110-120. Once again Iago tricked Othello. Iago used and poisoned Othello's mind with thoughts of Desdemona and Cassio in bed together. Iago's so-called proof was all false, but Othello did not see this and in the moment as enraged as he was he ended up killing Desdemona by his own sword, worst yet, in killing her he told her how much he hated her. Later on, Emilia told Othello of how Iago lied to him and she too ended up dead by Iago's sword. After finding out that Iago was lying to him all this time, and of all that he had done by believing those lies, Othello killed himself. 

           Every person that came in contact with Iago ended up dead or wounded in some way. Iago manipulated everyone he knew for his own means. In the end he got everything he wanted. He got revenge on Othello and ended up killing three people and seriously wounding one person in the process. One of the people who died was his own wife, but he could have cared less about that as long as he succeeded. If Iago was not around and did not carry with him the animosity, hatred, greed, and selfishness, none of those inimical things would have happened, but then, there wouldn't be a play either. Bad characters are needed in plays and in life. If we always got what we wanted and bad things never happened, then life would be very boring. Iago tormented and played around with Othello's mind, and he enjoyed this immensely, it was his goal and he achieved it. 

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