Othello

Shakespeare\'s Othello



In Shakespeare\'s "Othello," Iago carefully and masterfully entraps Othello into believing that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio. He does this through a series of suggestions and hesitations that entice and implant images into Othello\'s head that lead him to his own demise. More importantly, Iago gives Othello the motive to murder his own innocent wife Desdemona, satisfying Iago\'s immense appetite for revenge.

The motive for Iago\'s devious plan is initially made clear in the first of three major soliloquies, in which he proclaims Othello has had an affair with his wife, Emilia: "And it is thought abroad that t\'wixt my sheets/ He\'s done my office"
(I.iii.381-383). The irony behind this line is where he continues: "I know not if\'t be true/ But I, for mere suspicion in that kind; / Will do as if for surety"(I.iii.383-385). Iago is so exceedingly paranoid and insane that he will go far as murdering, and deluding even a general into murdering his wife.

Iago simultaneously conducts a devious plan to obtain Cassio\'s position as lieutenant, using Desdemona\'s prime weakness; her naivety. He disgraces Cassio by intoxicating him enough so he strikes Roderigo. Othello then discharges Cassio of his Lieutenancy when he says: "Cassio, I love thee,/ But nevermore be officer of mine" (II.iii.242-244). It was therefore understandable that he would fall to the mercy of Iago, completely oblivious to the inevitable effects. Iago reveals his plan to the reader in his third soliloquy when he states:
His soul is so unfettered to her love,
That she may make, unmake, do what she list,
even as her appetite shall play the god
With his weak function...
And she for him pleads strongingly to the Moore,
I\'ll pour this pestilence into his ear:
That she repels him for her body\'s lust,
And by how much she strives to do him good,
She shall undo her her credit with the Moor (II.iii.330-350).

The first instance of this plan comes to life in the scene where Iago gets Cassio drunk, but the crafting only begins after Cassio is dismissed by Othello. With Cassio\'s reputation squandered, Iago subsequently hooks in Cassio by taking advantage of the fact that he is in a state in which he would do anything to acquire his job, position, and reputation back. Iago guides him to seek Desdemona to get It back: "Our General\'s wife is/ now the General...She is so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her/ goodness not to do more than she is requested..." (II.iii. 304-310). Iago knows Desdemona is extremely naive.

While Cassio is talking to Desdemona about asking Othello to take him back, Iago is implanting sexual images of Cassio and Desdemona in Othello\'s mind. The more Desdemona pleads to Othello about this matter, the more Othello believes that Cassio is sleeping with his wife. Furthermore, the more he refuses Desdemona\'s wishes, the more she pleads, thereby creating an inescapable knot that never ceases to tighten around all three characters. For his plan to successfully work; however, Iago first had to carefully gain trust from all of the characters. Being a master of deception, this was not very difficult. The declarations of love he spoke so strongly of throughout the play was enough to fool everyone: "I think you think I love you...""I protest, in the sincerety of love and kindness..." Evidently he does deceive the characters in the play through their words:(Othello) "Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter...""my friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago..." (Cassio)"Good night honest Iago...""I never knew a Florentine more kind and honest."

The love and honesty Iago falsely imposes upon Othello and Cassio easily set a notion to either of them of the possibility that he could ever set either of them up in such a profound and disgraceful manner. The irony of all this is throughout the open declarations of love, Iago is deceiving them . One is therefore left to question the naivety and innocent nature of each character; except Iago.

Iago\'s beloved wife, Emilia, is the one who eventually unravels her husband\'s masterful plan in the ultimate scene, but it is already too late, for Iago has gained his revenge with the murder Of Desdemona by Othello. Another irony is when she fails to connect the persona she described; after