An Analysis of Iago’s Manipulation of Virtues
Question: With reference to Acts 1 to 3, how far do you agree that Iago’s main technique is to use people’s virtues against them?
I largely agree that Iago’s main technique is to use people’s virtues against them, as examples of him employing this technique is evident in Acts 1 to 3 through the ways in which he manipulates Cassio, Othello and Desdemona. However, he also makes use of the weaknesses of certain characters as well, such as Roderigo, Cassio and Othello.
Firstly, Iago takes advantage of Cassio’s virtues of courtesy and integrity. In Act 1, Iago states that Cassio “hath a person and a smooth dispose / To be suspected, framed to make women false”, which is what spurs him to “gyve” the latter “in [his] own courtship” in Act 2. Through exaggerating and creating false reports of Cassio’s displays of courtesy towards Desdemona to Roderigo and Othello, Iago begins his attempts to prove Cassio to be a flirtatious man engaged in an adulterous relationship with Desdemona, therefore paving the way for Cassio’s demotion.
Also, Iago poses as sincere, trustworthy companion to Cassio by advising him to “Confess [himself] freely to [Desdemona]” and “importune her help to put [him] in [his] place again” after the drunken brawl which resulted in him being stripped of his rank. By mourning for his loss of reputation and displaying his feelings of self-contempt, Cassio shows high regard for his integrity, thus giving Iago another opportunity to further his plans and tie Cassio’s downfall in with Desdemona’s.
Similarly, Iago makes use of Othello’s love towards Desdemona and trust in Iago to provoke feelings of suspicion and doubt. As “the Moor is of a free and open nature, / That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,” based on Iago’s own observations, Othello’s trusting nature makes him susceptible to being “led by th’nose / As asses are.” As a result, Othello’s virtues are exploited, and he then falls prey to Iago’s insinuations.
This is particularly evident in Act 3 when Iago warns Othello to “Look to [his] wife; observe her well with Cassio;” and “Wear [his] eye thus, not jealous nor secure.” While Othello’s trust in Desdemona is shaken due to the suggestion of her unfaithfulness, his trust in Iago is reinforced in turn, as Iago presents himself as a friend who “would not have [Othello’s] free and noble nature, / Out of self-bounty, be abused.” This also allows Iago to continue twisting Othello’s views of Desdemona, as the Moor’s almost gullible state makes room for plenty of misconceptions and dubiousness.
Furthermore, Desdemona’s kindness and loyalty to her friends play huge roles in Iago’s scheme. Whilst consoling Cassio, Iago mentions that Desdemona “is of 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.” As Desdemona possesses a generous spirit, not only will she agree to appeal to Othello about Cassio’s situation, but would also be unsuspecting to Iago’s machinations, as her good nature drives her to help Cassio without asking for anything in return or considering whether there are ulterior motives involved.
Finally, as Iago is aware that “[Desdemona]’s framed as fruitful as the free elements, and knows she would do all that she can to push for Cassio’s reinstatement, he uses Desdemona’s compassionate and loyal qualities to his advantage. Despite this, because Iago had planted ideas of adultery in Othello’s head, Desdemona’s requests that Othello make peace with Cassio would then only fuel Othello’s suspicions and convince him even further of her infidelity.
While the ideas above show how Iago mainly uses people’s virtues against them in order to exact his revenge against Othello, another technique he utilizes is making use of a few characters’ weaknesses, namely, Roderigo’s, Cassio’s and Othello’s.
In Act 1, Roderigo presents Iago with his dilemma of being in love with Desdemona by proclaiming that “It is silliness to live, when to live is torment”. Despite the fact that Desdemona had already married Othello, Roderigo’s passions blind his sense of reason, and leave him defenseless against manipulation. Consequently, Iago urges him to “put money in [his] purse” and takes advantage of Roderigo’s foolish naivety, filling him with hope by reassuring him that Desdemona would soon tire of the Moor and yearn for a younger man to satisfy her needs. By doing so, Iago manages to secure himself a pawn who would willing aid him in his plan, which he points out by saying “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse; / For I mine own gained knowledge should profane, / If I would time expend with such a snipe, / But for my sport and profit.”
Likewise, Iago’s success in using Cassio’s virtues against him in Act 2 is by firstly taking advantage of Cassio’s lack of self-control. As Iago reveals in his soliloquy, “If [he] can fasten but one cup upon [Cassio], / With that which he hath drunk tonight already, / He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence / As [his] young mistress’ dog.” Through drinking, partaking in a brawl (which had also been set up by Iago) and subsequently getting demoted, the high value at which Cassio holds his reputation and integrity is revealed, thus giving Iago the perfect chance to continue orchestrating his plan by advising Cassio to seek Desdemona’s help, all the while maintaining the facade of an honest, trustworthy man. By exploiting Cassio’s weakness, his virtues become open for manipulation.
Lastly, both Roderigo and Cassio’s weaknesses contribute to Othello’s ultimate weakness: irrationality, which led to the tragic collapse of his relationship with Desdemona. Another of Iago’s soliloquies in Act 2 unveils his plan to “put the Moor / At least into a jealousy so strong / That judgment cannot cure”, and Othello clearly displays jealous rage in Act 3 when Iago’s words finally convince him of Desdemona’s promiscuity, as he says that “Her name that was as fresh / As Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black / As mine own face.” He also makes the decision to “withdraw to furnish [himself] with some swift means of death / For the fair devil”, hereby showing how Iago’s words have successfully induced a feeling of anger so strong that he resolves to kill Desdemona himself, regardless of how the only proof he’s been given are Iago’s words alone. Hence, we are presented with how Iago provokes Othello’s irrationality through lies and deception, and uses this moment of weakness to his advantage.
To conclude, Iago’s main technique is indeed to use people’s virtues against them, as can be seen by how he manipulated Cassio, Othello and Desdemona, but he also took a step in advance by exploiting some characters’ weaknesses as well, such as Roderigo’s, Cassio’s and Othello’s.
Welcome my Lord Duke of Venice, Senators and loyal citizens of Venice. We gather here today to mark the passing of out valiant Othello. A noble leader, gallant warrior, devoted husband and loyal friend. His leadership unlike no other, his military prowess he used to lead his soldiers will for ever be high in the esteem of the Venetian State. This man woefully fell victim to his own fatal flaws as he was exposed to the trap of the “green eyed monster “. A tragic loss of a man founded by strength but plagued only by one weakness.
It prides me, Michael Cassio, former lieutenant of Othello to be able to stand before you, to express my gratitude and passion for our general. He was not only my officer, but a mentor and a friend. His death now casts a shadow on Venice and Cyprus, his light that shined as bright as a lighthouse, has smouldered into ash.
Othello and I met on the rough seas of battle, he was the leading general of our fleet. At the time I was a soldier, scrawny and doubtful. My persistence to one day stand before my proud general would be a day of great pride, but I was only another number. But if it weren’t for the stars alignment one day, when Othello saw something that not even I could see. He taught me not to accept defeat, but to get back up after I fell. There are no words for how thankful I am for his elite leadership, a man’s leadership build on pure trust, honour and faith. His trust in me helped me engrave my name as a soldier, a soldier that fought proudly beside Othello. If it weren’t for Othello, I wouldn’t be standing here, as the man I am today.
He was a man of strength, many who knew him gravitated toward such a warrior. He was a leader to many who fought beside him. He was a man poise; thus he didn’t ever use his authority to humiliate or degrade his fellow men. His exotic background brought our cultures and beliefs into a brotherhood. Our brotherhood did not have ranks or status, together we fought as a team, as a family. Othello, leading us every inch of the way , he knew royalty, and he knew the burden of the slave, both fostered in his compassion and understanding of a soldier.
But we all saw the change in his eyes when he first met Desdemona, She challenged his strength and was his true love, and only weakness . Desdemona gave him the comfort that was very foreign to him. Someone that loved him beyond his stories and stature, she cared for his misfortunes and shame. She became a part of him, an extra hand, a shield from his reality .
Othello’s strength proved to be one of his biggest weaknesses, he succumbed to the pressure of jealously. His strength tormented, rotted by dis-honest Iago . His lion heart squeezed dry by corrupt time. Not even a warrior could stand the pain of drowning in his own jealously and guilt. His promises fell through his fingers like sand, his words –
“I’ll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;
And on the proof, there is no more but this:
Away at once with love or jealousy .”
His demise was beyond repair, murdered by twisted words.
Let us learn from this man. His message needs to resonate between each city. Do not let us become misguided and swayed by those who present us with out own personal issues. Let us not become overcome by our own imagination that we cannot trust those who are devoted to. In his own words, “The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief, He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” As we celebrate his passing, lets not weep to the fact he is gone, than it us who loses. Celebrate his passing so his rein lives on, his spirit will guide us into battle, lead us to the light and not be misguided.
Farewell Othello; noble leader, gallant warrior, devoted husband and loyal friend. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. We will remember him.
Analysis Of The “Othello” Written By William Shakespeare
Othello is a play written by William Shakespeare in the year 1603. It is a story that was adapted from a book known as “Un Capitano Moro” which was written by Cinthio. Cinthio was an avid follower of Boccaccio. The initial book was published in 1545. The tale is one filled with several twists and turns. Through the play, we get to learn plenty about the main characters. We get to understand their specific roles in the story (Werstine 57). The two tales, both the play by Shakespeare and the novel by Cinthio are based on the main character “Othello” and his unfaithful Ensign, Iago. Othello was a celebrated army veteran who had amazing stories to tell. So amazing that he wood Desdemona and even married her. Iago’s intentions are rather hard to understand in this plot. He seems to be a psychopath who likes playing both sides of the fence. On one side he is helping his friend, Roderigo to woo Desdemona away from her husband, but he pretends to also be on the side of Othello. His aims are quite unclear but he is a man who is very fond of chaos and violence, and it would appear that is all it ends. In my essay, I shall make a thorough psychoanalytical criticism of the play, “Othello,” by Shakespeare by giving a summary of the play; I shall complete full psychoanalysis of the play including the characters and the author of the play.
The plot opens with an argument between a wealthy man known as Roderigo and Iago. The former had paid the latter a sizeable amount of money to help him in his suit of Desdemona (Werstine75). He came to find out that she had already gotten married to a man known as Othello, to whom Iago served as an esquire. Iago confesses to hating Othello and promises to help Roderigo to steal Desdemona from her current husband and into his hands. Iago held a grudge against Othello because Othello had passed him by on promotion and gave it, instead, to Michael Cassio. Iago and Roderigo cry out to Brabanzio, Desdemona’s father, that her daughter had been stolen by witchcraft and was now married to Othello. Brabanzio became infuriated with this news. He gathered a group of a soldier to go and locate Othello. Iago, not wanting his hate of Othello to be known, runs ahead of them to go to Othello. Simultaneously, Cassius was arriving at Othello’s residence to tell him that his services had been requested in Venice to prevent the imminent Turkish invasion. No sooner had he finished reporting this, than a Brabanzio arrived and said that they all go to Venice before the Duke and the Senate. The Duke and the Senate are convinced with Othello’s narrative that he wooed her using the tales of war (Shakespeare 23). Desdemona confirms this and says to her father that she was not under the influence of witchcraft. Brabanzio, being very cross with his daughter. He, grudgingly, accepted the decision of the Senate and allowed the meeting to proceed.
The Senate sends Othello to Cyprus to help them defend that front from the Turks, whose approach seemed inevitable. The following day they got news that all the Turkish boats had capsized in the waters and their attack was defeated like that. Othello and others then resume home and are received warmly. Little did they know the plans that Iago had in store for them. Iago finds a way to convince Roderigo to slay Cassius. They hitched a project that involved getting Cassius extremely drunk. Then Iago would tell him to go and fight with Roderigo. Cassius charged towards Roderigo thinking that he had provoked him. He chased Roderigo across the stage, and when governor Matano attempts to hold Cassius down, he gets stabbed. When Othello finds out that entire mess, he asks who was responsible and Iago, feigning reluctance, pointed the finger to Cassius. Cassius tried to get on good terms with Othello by using Desdemona (Kastan 460). By so doing, Cassius used the situation to fabricate a false story about how Desdemona was having an affair with Cassius. Othello’s rage went even higher when his wife asked him to reinstate Cassius to his position. He took this to mean that the news from Iago was entirely accurate.
On a fateful day, Desdemona was arguing to herself about why the attitude of Othello had changed so sharply. While they were taking a meal, Desdemona tried to tie her handkerchief, the first present that Othello gave her, around his head (Kastan 470). He claimed it was too small and let it fall to the floor. Emilia, Iago’s wife. She found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago. Iago then asked a seamstress to replicate the design and keeps one copy in Cassius’ room where he would see it. The king was already furious and asked her about the handkerchief. She said she had no idea where it was. Then she attempted changing the subject by revisiting the reinstatement of Cassius. Iagos also organized for a meeting with Cassius, and they met with Othello just outside of earshot. They talked about hookers and, eventually, Cassius laughed, and Othello took this as confirmation that they were having an affair. Later that night, Desdemona comes with Lodovico who has papers calling Othello to Venice and leaving Cassius in charge (Kastan 469).
The letter was the final nail on the coffin. Othello flew into a rage-blinded by jealousy and ordered Desdemona to wait for him in bed somewhat ominously. She obliged. He then came back and smothered her with a pillow until she died. Simultaneously, Iago had organized for a fight between Roderigo and Cassius. Roderigo missed his mark and was killed. Iago then came to the court complaining that Roderigo had assailed him. After killing his wife, Emilia inquires why he killed her and his response. Emily asks him why he killed her and he responds that infidelity was the main reason and cited the handkerchief. Emily goes on to explain how she was the one who found the handkerchief and gave it to Iago. Othello then realized that Othello had duped him. He attempts to kill him but is disarmed. Iago then kills his wife and flees but is caught by Ludovico and Montano. Cassius, now in a chair, is also brought in. The plot ends with Othello ending his own life with a hidden sword after they told him the potential consequences of his actions.
The first feature to be noted here is the presence of hate. The first line that Othello said in the first page was “Thou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.” (Shakespeare 12) Hate is as a central ground for psychoanalysis as is love. The two seem to merge as you cannot have one without the other. In the hearts of both Iago and Rodriguez, we can see a very hostile attitude towards Othello. The rationale behind the hate that Roderigo had for Othello. He was of the opinion that Othello had taken Desdemona away from him. He was jealous of that fact. His hostility led him into trusting someone as spiteful as Iago. He plotted with Iago on the best way to get Desdemona from the clasps of Othello without knowing that he was only being used the whole time. Iago made sure that Roderigo overreacted so that he could commence his selfish plan which is to see the destruction of the house of Othello solely. Desdemona was so consumed with hatred and spite for Othello that he merely followed blindly to whichever direction Iago would point. He became the tool via which Iago could perform his destructive plan but not be liable for any part of it. Rodriguez went a step farther and attempted to kill Cassius as he had been told to do by
Iago is perhaps the most hateful villain in the whole play. He understands how to meticulously plan something so that it happens in perfection and during the play, he aimed to destroy the Othello. He hated Othello with a great hatred that is hard to fathom. According to what he told Rodriguez, Othello had been passed by on the promotion to become the right-hand man of Othello and Cassius had been chosen in his place instead. He feels like this gives him a right to destroy Othello. He lays out well-orchestrated plans to put an end to his enemy, and he collaborates with Roderigo who also has a significant amount of hate for Othello. He assumes that because he hates Othello and Roderigo also hates Othello, they can unite on this.
The first step that he takes is by going to Barbanzio and insinuates that Othello has stolen Desdemona through the act of witchcraft. He was hoping this would tear them asunder, but the plan backfired completely (Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust). Othello was able to convince the Senate as well as the Duke that the only thing he used to woo his current wife was his mouth. He enthralled her with stories about the war and that by so doing, she fell in love with him. In addition to this, Desdemona stood up to defend her husband saying that she was there entirely out of her free-will. She said this in the presence of her father who went ahead to disown her swiftly.
The second plan that he made came utterly out of pure luck. While they, Iago, Desdemona, Emily, and Roderigo, were standing awaiting Othello’s ship to dock, Cassius greeted Desdemona by clasping their hands together. Iago sees this as an opportunity to entrap Cassius. He says how he will take advantage of “as little a web as this” to trap Cassius (Shakespeare 29). He decides to deceive Othello that Cassius and Desdemona are having an affair. His plan, this time, was to use Cassius by making him stay in poor graces with Othello. During the reveling, after they won in the war, Iago made Cassius stone drunk and incited him against Roderigo. Because of the poor judgment caused by the alcohol, Cassius charged against Roderigo causing a huge commotion. Governor Montano tried to restrain Cassius, but Cassius stabbed him ((Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust). Lego sends Roderigo to raise the alarm in town. When Othello came out to know why there was commotion, lego narrated the whole ordeal but first pretended to be reluctant to betray his “friend” Cassius. The king was so furious that he stripped Cassius of all his titles.
The final part of his plan was to make Othello believe that there was an existing sexual relationship between Cassius and Desdemona. The purpose of this is to make him jealous. Lego thought that the best way to finish Othello was by taking Cassius out of the equation. He organizes for Cassius to meet Desdemona in private to increase the suspicion in the mind of Othello. When the meeting is over, Cassius walks timidly past Othello because he is not sure whether Othello has forgiven him or not (Bevington et.al np.). It was out of respect that he humbled himself. However, the king was suspicious of him, and lego kindled the fire that was within him. He suggested that the only reason one would walk so timidly is if he had something actually to hide. Desdemona pities Cassius and over dinner talks to her husband about reinstating him. Her action ended up making the king even more jealous. She ended up bringing up the issue three times, and on the final time, she had lost the handkerchief that he had given her. In advance of this, Iago had staged for a performance where they would talk with Cassius just out of earshot from Othello (Bevington et.al np.). The happy nature of their conversation, in Othello’s mind, had the effect of confirming that Cassius had an affair with Desdemona.
Additionally, the woman they were talking about, came with a handkerchief that was a duplicate of the one that Othello had given his wife as her first ever present. Eventually, Othello smothered Desdemona with a pillow until she died (Kirsch 258). The degree of hatred that lego had in his heart for Othello cannot even be quantified. It is hard to understand what his goal was indeed but it was not forged from a place of happiness.
Jealousy is another psychoanalytical criteria that are present in the play. The most magnificent depiction of jealousy is in the play is that of Othello himself. His resentment is fueled by two main things, false information given to him by Iago and a lack of trust for his wife. Iago saw his wife holding hands with Cassius and decided that he would take advantage of that to bring Othello and his wife asunder inevitably. When Iago told Othello that his wife was having an affair with Cassius, he was not sure whether to believe him or not (Bevington et.al np.). Over supper, he did not bring up the subject, but Desdemona asked him whether he could reinstate Cassius to his former position. Her act cast a considerable shadow and just like that; he believed what Iago had told him. Later, Iago staged a show for Othello to see but he would not hear what exactly was going on (Kastan 480). However, after all that, his wife was still insistent that Cassius is reinstated to his former position and this was driving the commander mad because she seemed to be confirming what lego was claiming. Her loss of the handkerchief appeared to be the last nail in the coffin. He was so jealous that he ended up killing her. His mistrust was also another reason for his jealousy. In the play, he did not, even once, ask her whether the claims were valid and even to give her a little time to defend herself at least. He took someone else’s word for it, and he ended up killing his wife who protested the whole time that she was innocent.
Where there are hate and jealousy, there must also be love. These features are interdependent. Othello had a great love for his wife. He accepted to take her with him to war because she insisted. He also defends her in court saying it was her decision and that he did not have anything to influence her decision (Shmoop Editorial Team). Desdemona is also shown to have a great love for her husband. In the courthouse, she was disowned by her father because he did not approve of the man she had married. She stuck by her man at the risk of losing her father.
Othello is in line with Shakespeare’s traditional approach to literature. He places a heavily drawn out, considerably extravagant, phrases or narcissism. His sense of style most times is pompous or even extravagant. He is always looking for theatricality. Additionally, he places a lot of tragedies in his plays. Most end with the main characters dying due to some unnecessary family feud. He continually uses metaphors to create melodrama (Freelance Writing 2016).
How Othello’s Personality Evolves in The Tragedy of Othello by William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice is a famously written tragedy play by William Shakespeare. The main character of the play, Othello, is introduced in the beginning as a brave, almighty general and is surprisingly evolved into a character whose naivety and jealousy has lead to cruel murders. Othello goes from being head over heels for his newly wed wife, Desdemona, “But that I love the gentle Desdemona,” to evilly plotting her death “I’ll tear her to pieces” (Shakespeare, 1985). The personality change that took place in Othello was mainly due to Iago’s cunning plans of deceiving him, and this paper will explore the evolution of Othello’s personality change by examining the emotional and psychological journey Othello undergoes as well as the reasons for this life-changing journey which will reveal the personality of Othello early on in the play and the personality of Othello at the end of the play along with the transition point that changed him.
The play opens with a scene of Iago and Rodrigo talking about their hate of Othello, and how Brabantio wants anything but his daughter to be married with Othello. In Brabantio’s opinion Othello is a Moorish soldier who is like a well-behaved barbarian that isn’t worthy of his daughter. However, after hearing Othello’s talking of how Desdemona fell in love with him, Brabantio agreed for his daughter to be wedded to him. When he talks about his love to Desdemona, Othello states things such as “I will… deliver of my whole course of love” and “phrase of peace” which reveal his wholehearted and never-ending love to Desdemona (Shakespeare, 1985). Despite being happy as a newlywed, Othello has other things going on for him; he’s also a triumphant general in war and well-liked within his society. While Roderigo’s hate for Othello stems from his love for Desdemona, Iago’s hate for Othello stems from being passed off to a lesser military position by Othello.
Othello begins to change from his rational and calm composure to a ferocious and groundless one as Iago begins spreading rumors of Desdemona cheating on Othello with Cassio. Iago sneakily plans out various events that lead up to him revealing the rumor. For instance, after Cassio’s reputation is damaged, Iago tries to urge Desdemona to talk to Othello for Cassio, so he can be promoted again, which can give Othello the implication that Desdemona cares for Cassio. Also, when Cassio walks out in Act 3 as soon as Othello and Iago enter, Iago states that “Cassio wouldn’t act like a guilty man when you approach,” which utilizes reverse psychology to further manipulate Othello before even revealing to him the rumor (Shakespeare, 1985). Iago’s aim was to have Othello collect his own clues and hints which would verify Iago’s rumor when he told it. Even though Iago ultimately reveals to him the rumor, the transition point in Othello doesn’t become fully evident until the scene of Othello finding Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s room.
Othello, being a man of action and being of high reputation, was enraged with the idea of being cheated on. Having a linear point of view, which can be seen from him taking everything at face-value, such as seeing the handkerchief and immediately thinking that he is being cheated on. Othello fails to ask the right questions and is easily affected by his emotions. From the play, one can see that after finding out the handkerchief, Othello has no remorse for Desdemona, and degrades himself to calling her a whore, hitting her in front of others, and at the end killing her in an unfounded jealous rage. From the beginning, Othello should’ve suspected that Iago, someone who is upset for being passed off as a lieutenant by Othello, should care for the well-being of Othello.
As can be seen from Othello’s play, Othello who started off as a selfless and moral general and newly wed groom ended up in turmoil and in killing himself due to the betrayal he believed had been done to him. Othello’s self-inflicted pain blocked him from being able to see anything, including Iago’s cunning plots, Desdemona’s never-ending love for him, and Cassio’s lack of involvement with Desdemona.
The Difference and Similarity of Two Men in Shakespeare’s Othello
In Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago plots revenge on Othello because Othello chose Cassio over him for the lieutenant position, which Iago thought he deserved. Manipulating characters such as Roderigo, his wife Emilia, and Cassio, Iago uses Othello’s flaws of insecurity and impulsiveness to contribute to his own downfall. In the end, Iago succeeds partially, as Othello committed suicide, but Iago is captured and tortured for his crimes. Throughout the story, Iago is completely different from Othello because Iago is amoral and manipulative, while Othello is moral and gullible. However, they do share a similarity as they are both impulsive, acting based on their emotion.
Firstly, the contrast of moral versus amoral. Othello in the beginning of the play, is shown to be a moral character, as he is respected by most and of high ranking. This is evident when he says, “Though he had twinned with me, both at a birth, Shall lose me” (II.iii.175). This tells the audience that Othello does not let relationships cloud his judgement, it shows that he will always do the right thing in the moment. In this case, he fires Cassio, someone who is close to him, because he was intoxicated and acted irresponsibly and erratic, which was the correct decision.
Also, his moral character is displayed when he says, “With all my heart.” (I.iii.273). This quote shows how important Othello’s morals are to him. Even though he was married recently, he accepts the mission to go to Cyprus to defend it from a Turkish invasion. Showing he would risk his life for the betterment of his country, which is the right behaviour for a respected general like himself. In contrast, Iago is a very amoral character, he lies, and proceeds with bad actions. This is exhibited when he gets Cassio drunk (II.iii.273). He gets Cassio drunk and makes him act erratically in order to make Othello fire him from the lieutenant position because he wanted it. Cassio may not have had the experience as said by Iago, but, he still was chosen by Othello in the beginning, meaning Iago had no justification to steal his job.
Moreover, Iago’s amoral self is seen when he murders Roderigo after he failed to kill Cassio (V.i.64). Iago murders Roderigo, so he would not have to give back his jewels and so his plan could never be revealed, and he would still maintain his innocence. However, this came at a cost, it cost Iago, a man’s life, an innocent man’s life and it was unjust to kill an innocent man showing Iago’s amoral character. This contrast between moral and amoral plays a significant role in the play as it shows the difference between Othello and Iago’s relationships with other characters. Othello does not proceed with bad actions unless manipulated due to his moral character, this reflects how, many people respect him throughout the entire play. Compared to Iago, who is amoral, which is reflected in his relationships, as he must lie to every other character for them to like him, and at the end of the play, everyone seems to hate him.
Secondly, the comparison that can be seen in Othello, is Iago’s manipulative and Othello’s gullible personalities. Manipulation can be seen in Iago in every act of the play. He is always manipulating someone or explaining his plan in soliloquies. This is clearly shown when Iago says to Roderigo, “O murd’rous slave! O villain!” (V.i.64) and murders him. It is clear how Iago lied to and used Roderigo for his own benefit. Earlier Iago promised Roderigo that if he helped him kill Cassio, Iago would give him back his jewels. However, Iago only said that to get Roderigo’s help and had no intention of returning the jewels. After Roderigo’s failed attempt at killing Cassio, Iago murders Roderigo to protect his own innocence. Furthermore, during the conversation between Iago and Othello when Iago says, “There are a kind of men
So loose of soul that in their sleeps will mutter Their affairs. One of this kind is Cassio.”Lago knows that Othello loves Desdemona with all his heart and that Othello will get jealous if she were to cheat on him. He also knows that Othello has a lot of trust in him and will believe what he says. So, Iago lies to Othello, saying Desdemona is sleeping with Cassio in order to upset Othello and enrage him to his downfall. Contrarily, Othello’s gullible personality is exploited by Iago in the middle to end of the play. This is evident when he believes Iago’s words that Desdemona is sleeping with Cassio because he says, “She is gone, and I am abused”. This signifies to the reader that due to Othello’s gullible character, he has started a path where there is no return. He will keep thinking Desdemona is cheating on him because Iago will keep fooling him. Moreover, he is shown to be gullible when he says, “Heaven truly knows that thou art false as hell,” even after Desdemona swears she isn’t cheating. This shows his undying trust to Iago, who is manipulating him. He is persuaded by Iago very often that he does not believe anyone else unless it is Iago, showing just how gullible he really is, and shows Othello’s insecurity as he does not believe his wife could be loyal to him.
The comparison of manipulation and gullibility is important to the play as it is the driving force for the main conflict. Iago’s manipulation of Othello’s gullibility affects Othello’s relationships with every character as he acts differently towards them and his behaviour seems to change as well, which inevitability leads to his downfall.
Lastly, both characters share a similar trait, which is that they both are impulsive, and act based on their emotions. Throughout the play Iago is impulsive and acts based on his hatred. This is displayed when he says, “I hate the Moor. My cause is hearted. Thine hath no less reason. Let us be conjunctive in our revenge against him”. This clearly shows how due to Othello choosing Cassio, Iago has a strong hatred against Othello. He has such great hatred that he wants to get revenge and get back at him.
However, he could have been moral and patient about this situation and just have asked Othello why he chose Cassio, and that he thinks he is a better person for the job, showing he put no thought into another solution. In addition, his impulsiveness is shown when he kills his wife. In that scene, she is revealing Iago’s plan to Othello and a few others, enraging him. He tells her to be quiet multiple times, but she does not, and without thought, Iago stabs her because he is scared she will ruin his plan and his innocence. Showing how his emotion lead him to a hasty decision. Similarity, Othello is impulsive and acts on emotion in the middle to end of the play. This is easily seen when he says, “Oh, that the slave had forty thousand lives! One is too poor, too weak for my revenge”. Displaying how Othello acts right after he discovers evidence that his wife is cheating on him. He is very angry and revengeful, and just wants to get back at Cassio and Desdemona. He does talk to Desdemona about the situation after, but he chooses to disregard her words, as he again gets angry. All these actions are created by his anger and inability to not make hasty conclusions. To add on, his impulsiveness is seen when he gives his speech to Lodovico.
This speech tells the reader that he is feeling remorse, and regret for not trusting more in Desdemona, and that he should have known her worth, but that he was tricked, so he decides to kill himself. However, his decision to commit suicide was very quick and he was not in the right mind to make a judgement, as he was feeling many different emotions at the time.
Iago, the Most Villainous Character in Othello
Humans are said to be born with a moral compass telling them what is wrong and right, if not soceity does a good job instilling their views of what is good or bad into people. In Othello, written by William Shakespear and performed by Mixed Magic Theatre, the character Iago seems to be easily placed in the group of a bad person. What makes him a bad person? Well there are various reasons that can be stated, but I find the most compelling the fact that he used manipulation many times as a tool to go forward with his plans. Another characteristic that show his malicious nature is how he often lies to people. These two along with his unwarranted desire to destroy Othello and Desdemona’s relationship.
Iago’s disregard for others is very apparent in his constant manipulation of them. Roderigo is one of the characters that would fall victim to Iago’s manipulation, being used merely as a puppet. Iago seems aware that he has Roderigo in the palm of his hand, ready to be used for his own gain. Iago shows this by saying, “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse” (Othello.1.3). Here Roderigo is referred to as a fool, and then is also said to be Iago’s “purse” because he is a utility that Iago would use for his goals. Even when Roderigo has enough sense to question Iago, Iago is able to appease him and get what he wants. “I have no great devotion to the deed, and yet he has given me satisfying reasons” (Othello.6.1). Even though Roderigo doesn’t want to kill Cassio, Iago show’s his master manipulation skills and is able to get Roderigo to comply. If manipulating Roderigo isn’t enough to see Iago is a Villain, the act that Iago is getting him to do (killing Cassio) should make it clear.
Roderigo isn’t the only one to fall victim to manipulation as Iago takes advantage of Othello as well. Iago is able to manipulate Othello by getting into a position where he is trusted by him. Othello even has a conversation with Iago’s wife where he says, “My friend, thy husband, honest, honest Iago” (Othello.5.2). Othello clearly is unable to see through Iago’s disguise as a good trustworthy friend, and even gives him compliments, all while he is being plotted against. Iago even says to Roderigo, “I follow him to serve my turn upon him” (Othello.1.1). He clearly states that he is serving under Othello to someday take his place.
Iago can also be considered the most villainous person because he continuously lies, but makes himself look venerable at the same time. By doing this he appears as sincere and reliable to the other characters, but he is truly deceiving. Iago incessantly lies to Othello about Desdemona having an affair with Cassio. He purposely uses Cassio because he wants to show Othello how noble he is by making Cassio look deficient. It is effortless for Iago to lie to Othello because Othello holds Iago to be a close friend and advisor. One instance where Iago lies to Othello is when he says, “Look to your wife. Observe her well with Cassio. Wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure” (Othello.3.3.). As Iago lies to Othello about how Cassio is sleeping with Desdemona, he makes himself appear loyal and concerned for Othello’s well being. Lying is a villainous act that Iago resorts to because it can have unintended consequences and be hurtful when the truth is exposed. By lying Iago is able to manipulate others and have them unknowingly follow is conspiracy.
Through words and actions Iago is capable of manipulating his own wife, Emilia. Iago uses Emilia as part of his plot. Emilia is has a vital role in Iago’s plan because he has her take Desdemona’s handkerchief so that he can leave it in Cassio’s house. “My wayward husband hath a hundred times / Wooed me to steal it” (Othello.3.3). Iago consistently convinces his wife to steal Desdemona’s belongings without giving any explanation. Since he manipulates his own wife it portrays how evil he really is because he does not actually care for her he only uses her. Emilia does not even question Iago about the handkerchief she only does what she is told because she does not want to displease him. Emilia is only one of the numerous characters that Iago is able to manipulate.
Othello is another major character that Iago is able to manipulate. With his words he can make Othello believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio without any concrete proof. Iago willingly destroys the relationship between Othello and without the slightest feeling of guilt. Iago lures Othello into his plan when he says, “ She did deceive her father, marrying you, / And when she seemed to shake and fear your looks, / She loved them most” (Othello.3.3). Iago’s manipulative words it all what Othello needs to hear to believe that Desdemona is cheating on him. “As to be bold with you, / Not to affect many proposed matches / Of her own clime, complexion, and degree” (Othello.3.3). Iago tells Othello that Desdemona is not who he thinks she is. Iago persuades Othello into believing the Desdemona is unfaithful, even though she is the most innocent character throughout the play. Iago manipulates Othello with his words because without any ocular evidence Othello is still able to believe him. Iago can be considered as a villain by manipulation because he uses it to benefit himself and he does not have sympathy for who he is hurting.
Iago’s character in Shakespeare’s play, Othello is one of the greatest villains in literature. His deceit and manipulation of Othello ultimately cause the death of three innocent characters Desdemona, Othello and Roderigo. Iago deceivingly takes advantage of people; he lies while making himself look highly regarded and manipulates people that will bring him closer to his goals. In the end of the play the characters are finally able to realize that Honest Iago is not as honest as he presented himself to be and he proves himself to be the most villainous character in the play.
Iago from Othello Is the Perfect Villain
Did Iago screw up? The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice. William Shakespeare. Iago manipulates Cassio to get him drunk and gets Roderigo to bring him into a fight. Iago has his revenge when Othello demotes Cassio of his rank because of his misbehavior. Iago decides to make Othello believe his wife is unfaithful to him. Three things that make Iago a perfect villain are: manipulation, he is “honest” to others, and his actions ultimately caused the death of others.
For me Iago’s strongest characteristic when it comes to being the villain is manipulation. Iago set in Othello’s mind that something is happening between Cassio and Desdemona. “Othello: Get me some poison, Iago, this night: I’ll not expostulate with her lest her body and beauty unprovide my mind again. This night, Iago. Iago: Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated. Othello: Good, good. The justice of it pleases. Very good. (4.1.191-197)*.” This quote is when Othello decides to kill Desdemona so that she can not cheat on him or any other man. Othello wants to poison Desdemona, but Iago suggests not to kill Desdemona with poison. Othello and Iago had a conversation and Iago had mentioned that Desdemona looked like she was flirting with Cassio. Iago at that moment planted the idea that Desdemona might not be faithful to Othello.
Iago tells the truth… Sometimes. He is half honest to people around him. “Othello. What dost thou say, Iago ? Iago. Did Michael Cassio, when you woo’d my lady, Know of your love? Othello. He did, from first to last ; why dost thou ask ? Iago. But for a satisfaction of my thought ; No further harm. Othello. Why of thy thought, Iago ? Iago. I did not think he had been acquainted with her. Othello. O, yes ; and went between us very oft. Iago. Indeed ! Othello. Indeed! ay, indeed; discern’st thou aught in that? Is he not honest ? Iago. Honest, my lord ! Othello. Honest ! ay, honest. Iago. My lord, for aught I know. Othello. What dost thou think ? Iago. Think, my lord ! Othello. Think, my lord ! By heaven, he echoes me, As if there were some monster in his thought Too hideous to be shown. — Thou dost mean something. I heard thee say even now, thou lik’dst not that, When Cassio left my wife : what didst not like ? And when I told thee he was of my counsel In my whole course of wooing, thou criedst ‘ Indeed !’ And didst contract and purse thy brow together, (3.3.95-104)*.” Iago tells Othello that he thinks Cassio is with Desdemona, Othello questions whether it is the truth or a lie. Iago tells Othello it is the honest truth. Othello does not believe Iago and wants proof that Cassio is with Desdemona. “Iago. Nay, but be wise : yet we see nothing done ; She may be honest yet. Tell me but this, Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief Spotted with strawberries in your wife’s hand ? Othello. I gave her such a one ; ‘t was my first gift. Iago. I know not that ; but such a handkerchief — I am sure it was your wife’s — did I to-day See Cassio wipe his beard with. Othello. If it be that,— Iago. If it be that, or any that was hers, It speaks against her with the other proofs.” (3.3.420-429)
Othello does not want to believe Iago when tells Othello that Desdemona might not be faithful. Iago asks about the handkerchief that Emilia stole for him. Iago tells Othello that he saw the handkerchief in. Cassio’s hand. But Othello does not know how Cassio would have actually got the handkerchief, only that Desdemona could have given it to Cassio.
Iago’s actions that were due to jealousy caused the ultimate death of Othello, Emilia, Roderigo and Desdemona. “Roderigo. O, help me here ! 6a Cassio. That’s one of them. Iago. O murtherous slave ! O villain ! [Stabs Roderigo. Roderigo. O damn’d Iago ! O inhuman dog ! Iago. Kill men i’ the dark! — Where be these bloody thieves? — How silent is this town ! — Ho ! murther ! murther!— What may you be ? are you of good or evil ?, (5.1.61-67)*” This scene is when Iago kills Roderigo, so he can not tell anyone of Iago’s plan to wound Cassio. “Othello. It is too late. Emilia. [ Withiri] My lord, my lord ! what, ho ! my lord, my lord ! Othello. What noise is this? — Not dead? not yet quite dead ? I that am cruel am yet merciful ; I would not have thee linger in thy pain. — So, so. Emilia. [ Within] What, ho ! my lord, my lord ! Othello. Who’s there ? Emilia. [ Within] O, good my lord, I would speak a word with you ! Othello. Yes ; — ‘t is Emilia. — By and by. — She’s dead. — ‘T is like she comes to speak of Cassio’s death. — The noise was here. — Ha ! no more moving? Still as the grave., (5.2.85-100)*” This is the scene where Othello kills Desdemona because he – Othello – wholeheartedly believes that Desdemona has cheated on him – Othello – with Cassio and confronts her – Desdemona – about the handkerchief that Cassio had in his hand. “Iago. Villanous whore ! Emilia. She give it Cassio ! no, alas ! I found it, And I did give ‘t my husband. Iago. Filth, thou liest ! 230 Emilia. By heaven, I do not, I do not, gentlemen. O murtherous coxcomb ! what should such a fool Do with so good a wife? Othello. Are there no stones in heaven But what serve for the thunder ? — Precious villain ! [He runs at Iago ; Iago, from behind, stabs Emilia, and exit. Gratiano. The woman falls ; sure, he hath kill’d his wife. Emilia. Ay, ay. O, lay me by my mistress’ side.,(5.2.27-40)*” Iago stabs Emilia when she told the truth about the handkerchief, then Iago runs away. “Othello. Soft you ; a word or two before you go. I have done the state some service, and they know ‘t. No more of that. — I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice; then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought Perplex’d in the extreme; of one whose hand, Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away Richer than all his tribe ; of one whose subdued eyes, Albeit unused to the melting mood, Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees, Their medicinable gum. Set you down this; And say besides, that in Aleppo once, Where a malignant and a turban’d Turk Beat a Venetian and traduc’d the state, I took by the throat the circumcised dog. And smote him — thus. [Stabs himself. Lodovico. O bloody period ! Gratiano. All that ‘s spoke is marr’d. Othello. I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee ;— no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss. [Falls on the bed, and dies., (5.2.38-68)*.” Othello kills himself after the confrontation with Iago and guards in Desdemona’s bedroom about killing Desdemona out of jealousy, love and anger. Because of Iago’s actions four people are dead, one’s that Iago was friends with or that he loved.
Iago, he really did screw his life up didn’t he? Iago was manipulative, half honest with people and he caused the death of many people just because he was jealous. I think something myself and others can learn from this is: no matter how jealous or angry you get it does not do any good to yourself or others to dwell on your emotions or act upon your emotions, whether you think about the consequences – positive or negative – or not, because it could have disastrous results even if that is your endgame.
- Othello: The Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare – Books on Google Play. Google, Google, play.google.com/store/books/details/Othello_The_Moor_of_Venice?id=Ki9XAAAAYAAJ
Iago Is Destined to Bring about His Own Tragedy
In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago, the antagonist of the play, devises a plot to destroy Othello, the protagonist, a general in the Venetian army. The drama of the play begins with Iago being rejected the job of his dreams, the general Othello’s lieutenant. In a fit full of rage, Iago sets out to destroy Othello and everyone he holds dear. As jealousy and anger overwhelms him, his plot results in his own downfall. In an Elizabethan Tragedy, just as this one, the winding plot leads to the death of the unfortunate protagonists. Every character carries a fatal flaw that eventually leads to their demise. Iago, the typical folklore villain, brought out his own demise as a result of his fatal jealousy, pride and pure, untarnished evil.
In the article entitled “Iago Character Introduction” by Fanny Ragland, Iago portrays pure, and terrible evil. Iago demonstrates throughout the book his atrocity toward others and his plans to destroy them. Iago is very secretive with his motives and insists against opening up to people. Ragland theorizes that Iago lusts for Desdemona, Othello’s newlywed wife. Love can make the strongest men crumble, and the wittiest minds confused. Iago uses manipulation to get what he wants. Whether this is all in spite of Othello or a trek for Desdemona’s love, he will take advantage of them for his own benefit. Iago’s evil and manipulative nature gets the best of him, controlling his every move from the inside. He becomes neither man nor beast. He is the personification of evil and torment; what literary historians would call the devil himself. The raw bane of his treachery changes how Iago thinks. In Ragland’s article, she explains, “To lago and in an intensified sense, ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair.’ The very quintessence of his nature is the consummate power which he possesses of reversing the order of good and evil so as to make the good appear the evil. (Ragland)” Iago’s confusing plot corrupts his sense of morality; what is good and evil. This causes his merciless serial murder of the majority of the protagonists. Throughout the book, it is evident to the audience that Iago is in a war with himself, attempting to uncover for himself his own morality.
Although Iago is a generally secretive and mysterious figure, he allows one person to know his real plan. Throughout the book, Iago speaks to Roderigo as an equal, giving him equal opportunity to become part of Iago’s plot. With obvious intent, Iago manipulates Roderigo for his own personal gain. In Act 1, Scene 1, Iago speaks to Roderigo for the first time about his plot. Iago says:
“It is as sure as you are Roderigo,
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago.
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end;
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am” (Shakespeare,1.1.56-65).
Iago admits to Roderigo that he is not what he seems to be to the people he seems to be loyal to. Iago believes that to open up your true self would make you a victim. Seeing Roderigo as his brainless minion of sorts, he cares not what he finds out, because Iago knows that at some point, he must get rid of him. He explains to Roderigo that to open yourself up is to become weak, letting nature eat away at you. Iago thinks that a strong person is a man with many personalities, isolated from all other people. Iago strives on independence and manipulation. Iago’s wit makes it easy for him to manipulate. As an example of this, in Act 4, Scene 1, after Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona is committing adultery, Othello tells Iago to bring him poison with which to kill her. WIth this, Iago answers, “Do it not with poison, strangle her in her bed, even / the bed she hath contaminated” (Shakespeare, 4.1.207-208). In this scene, Othello tells Iago to bring him poison, to kill Desdemona with. Iago recommends strangling her in her bed. Iago cares not about the people that he committing these evils against, but if he is doing them, he might as well do them to the fullest. Iago knows that if Othello kills Desdemona with his raw brutality, brutality that he learned from the army, Othello will witness with barbarism and his own evil, that he will have no choice but to take his own life. Iago is clever, no matter how he seems to different people. He has a bundle of frustration toward Othello that has to be brought out, and Iago only takes pleasure from seeing Othello suffering from his doings. At the precipice of Othello’s death, dagger in hand, Iago explains his motives to Othello. “Demand me nothing: what you know, you know: / From this time forth I never will speak word” (5.2.303-304). This is the last time Iago speaks in the book. Othello asks why Iago betrayed him and did the things he did, but Iago only responds that he feels more comfortable not telling him. We would expect someone like Iago to gloat after something like this. Iago finishes his masterpiece, leaving Othello with his last living moment of anguish; mystery. Iago’s true motives will forever be unknown to Othello, for the rest of his short-lived life. Although Iago had some faults in his plan near the end, he prides himself with his final blow to the general. Although he he accomplishes what he initially set out to do, he failed in his attempt at social dominance and authority. He was so caught up in the moment of his success over Othello, that for the first time, he does not care for what happens afterwords. In the end, pride got the best of our antagonist. He lived for this moment, where he stood over his enemy’s body with a glorious finale. Iago’s desire was not to be authorized over everyone else, but to simply be right and victorious. After a thread of trembling events, he can now have this moment to emphasize himself and what he has done. Within all these quotes, Iago manipulates and plays with people to his own advantage. All these quotes work together and unify to form this humanoid creature who only desires the worst for everyone; a monster who desires nothing but self-righteousness and greed.
By the end of Othello, although Iago’s plan is successful, but he is taken away by the police. Iago’s desire of dominance of society and supreme control was interfered by his arrest. Although he did not assume his position as general, his plan worked successfully, and everything that needed be done, was done. His desires were fulfilled. His long lived dream sprouted and worked to its full potential. Iago is evil by every definition. He is too devoted to his mischievous plan too look around and see what is happening. Iago never knew love and never knew how it feel to have it taken away. He became weak during the middle of the book, and the rest of his plan since then was him trying to prove to himself that he is as evil as he sees himself to be. Therefore, the reactions of others to his plan had no meaning to Iago anymore, and that eventually gets him caught. With his attempt of killing Emilia, his own wife, Iago is found out for what he really is. Othello describes Iago as “Janus”, the roman god with two faces. In Act 5, people finally see Iago’s true face out of many. Othello is defined as a tragedy, because it explains the deaths or downfalls of its main characters. Iago became nervous and suspicious of his plan and other people, and his haste got him figured out.
Othello is possibly the best definition of tragedy, as all the characters of the book bring out their own demise from their fatal personal flaws. Because the book explains how demented Iago is, it is evident that he is destined to bring about his own tragedy. Othello is a timeless play, telling the story of the evils of humanity and the fragility of love and human compassion. The characters of Othello are trapped within a web of lies and conspiracy which gives them no choice but to induce their slip into sweet, eternal slumber. We can only learn through our faults. Unfortunately for our late antagonist, pride and jealousy occupied his very thought and stole that opportunity. Shakespeare writes about the true face of humanity and the grim truth about life. The human journey for happiness and peace is futile. We are forever doomed to become what we were always destined to become; Iago.
The Tragic Hero in Othello and The Godfather
“Stories are the most important thing in the world.” (Philip Pullman) It is through the power of stories that connects our thinking to our heart and shape our world. Good morning teachers, I am here today to pitch to you how Coppola’s “The Godfather” constructively enhances students’ conception of the narrative of tragic hero in Shakespeare’s “Othello.” From a 17th century play to American art cinema, “Othello” and “The Godfather” explores the tragedies that exist in societies, many characteristics unfortunately still relevant today.
There are three fundamental components guided by Aristotle’s “Poetics” that will help us distinguish how the narrative of tragic hero is reshaped from “Othello” to “The Godfather.” The ideal tragic hero is a character of noble prestige and prominence. Secondly, the tragic hero is an imperfect character with a proneness to make mistakes in discernment. Finally, the tragic hero has a fatal flaw, hamartia, that inevitably causes his/her downfall.
By inspecting Aristotle’s representation of an archetypal tragedy, one can perceive the artistic traits of “Othello” that conveys a definite interpretation of a tragic hero. The play presents the human nature of infidelity and human suffering to its fullest form, as shown through this quote. “green ey’d monster” effectively symbolizes the jealousy that will essentially undo Othello’s mentality and marriage. Not only does Othello exemplify heroism through his noble stature, but he also demonstrates his fatal flaws, exemplified through his soliloquy before committing suicide; with “then must you speak of one that loved not wisely but too well, of one not easily jealous but, being wrought, perplexed in the extreme.” These flaws, his earnestness of Iago and enviousness of Desdemona, illustrates Shakespeare’s understanding of the flawed nature of humanity during the Renaissance period. As Othello acknowledges his resentment, he draws solicitude and pity from the readers, constructing him as an archetype of a tragic hero.
In examining “The Godfather,” Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, is an exceptional example of a contemporary reiteration of a hamartia character in modern-day film. When we first meet Michael, he is a son of a dominant New York family despite having no association with his father’s crime syndicate. This is evident in the scene when Michael says, “That’s my family Kay. It’s not me.” His hamartia is his devotion to his family and his sense of duty, doing whatever it takes in order for his family to win. The intimate close-up shot between Michael and his father highlights the defining moment for Michael’s life. As he utters, “I’m with you now,” Michael solidifies his commitment to his family. With their hands clenching together with a smile of his father’s face, this symbolizes the transition of power of Michael becoming “The Godfather.” Michael’s attributes as a tragic hero does not attain to the embodiment Aristotelian conceptualization. His descend isn’t death like Othello. His descend, however, is philosophical. A story of a man slowly losing his humanity step by step and becoming a monster he never wanted to be.
Remarkable storytelling captivates audiences with its meaningful plot through the use of universal concepts which have been demonstrated in the tragedy of “The Godfather” and “Othello.” These texts show how the narrative of a tragic hero can be reimagined in the contemporary world through different mediums, while utilising Aristotelian elements. From myth to cinema.
The Destructive Trait of Jealousy in Othello
Jealousy is feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages. Everyone has been jealous sometime in their life. Jealousy is a relevant theme that comes up in William Shakespeare’s play, Othello. Othello is a very interesting play that represents the continuous Ruin of a general as he easily trusts the wrong people and gets the consequences of his gullibility. The play is essentially charged by the unrelenting nature of the Antagonist, Iago, as he tries to get revenge on Othello for not promoting him as the lieutenant and instead giving it to another man that has no experience in physical battle. Iago is angry because Othello promoted Cassio to the lieutenant position, instead of him. Brabantio is jealous because the Othello married his daughter, desdemona. Othello gets jealous when he suspects that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. While Iago is seen as an honest man by Othello, his jealousy leads to the downfall of everyone. Jealousy is a destructive trait that leads to bad situations.
Prior to the start of the play, Othello had given the lieutenant position to Cassio instead of Iago, and that fuelled the hate and jealousy that Iago has towards Othello and Cassio. Other than this, there’s little more to explain why Iago hates Othello, and why he decides to cause harm to everyone else in the play. Iago has made it clear that he is angry at Othello for promoting Cassio to lieutenant, instead of him. Iago also has a suspicion that Othello has been sleeping with his wife, and he later says:
And it is thought abroad that twixt my sheets
He’s done my office. I know not if’t be true;
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. (1,3,371-374)
This suspicion leaves Iago more angry and jealous although he is not certain that Othello and his wife, Emilia, are having an affair. Iago also believes he will be a better lieutenant sorely on the fact that he has more experience with battle. Iago has more experience fighting, but Cassio is more knowledgeable of the position given to him. But Iago sees his experience as more valuable, which is why he thinks Cassio is not worthy enough for that role. Iago’s jealousy is shown when he is talking to his friend Roderigo about Othello. He says:
If I do not. Three great ones of the city
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant
Off-capped to him, and by the faith of man
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place. (1,1,9-12)
Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge describes Iago’s reasons for revenge as “the motive-hunting of motiveless Malignity”, meaning that Iago has no real reasons for causing all this harm, and that he is just evil. He also describes Iago as “a being next to Devil, only not quite Devil”. Iago’s ability to cause havoc without any form of remorse makes him more horrifying, and it shows just how evil and self centered he is. Iago’s jealousy causes him to do so much evil, without him thinking of anything he hopes to achieve when it’s all over.
Desdemona and Othello appear to have a good and romantic relationship in the play. At the start of the play, they are loving and trusting, and they stood by each other the whole time before Iago got involved in their lives. Iago puts doubt and insecurity in the mind of Othello, and it changes the way that Othello sees Desdemona. Othello gets jealous when Iago suggests that Desdemona has been cheating on him with his lieutenant Cassio, and his jealousy grows bigger when he is unable to find out the truth. The trust that he has for Desdemona diminishes, and he starts trusting Iago over his wife. Othello’s jealousy drives him to ask for proof that Desdemona is cheating on him. Othello says to Iago:
I’ll see before I doubt; when i doubt, prove;
And on the proof, there is no more but this
Away at once with love or jealousy. (3,3,204-206)
Othello claims that he won’t get jealous if there is no proof that his wife is cheating on him, but he continues to think about it and the jealousy takes over him. Iago keeps planting negative thoughts in Othello’s head and that leaves him frustrated and wanting an answer even more. Iago manipulates Othello even more by telling him to be careful about jealousy, Iago says:
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy.
It is a green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. (3,3,178-180)
This statement plants jealousy even more into Othello’s mind, specifically because it is coming from a man that he considers to be honest. Iago uses his reputation as an honest man as a tool to control the mind of Othello and the people around him. Foster insinuates that Iago uses the beliefs of other people about him to turn them against themselves, he tells them what he wishes them to know about, and then he creates a false circumstance that will turn his victims against each other. Othello eventually confronts Desdemona about cheating on him with Cassio. She tells him so many times that she has done nothing to deserve such accusation, but Othello still does not believe her and instead believes in Iago. Othello gets really angry at what he believes are lies coming from Desdemona, and his jealousy takes over him because he thinks she has been unfaithful to him, that he smothers her in their bed. His jealousy overtakes him and leads him to make the worst decision of the entire play.
Iago’s jealousy goes on until the final moments of the play, he convinces his friend Roderigo to kill Cassio and gives him reasons to do it, but what Roderigo doesnt know is that Iago has been using him for his own benefit all this while and because roderigo is a gullible man, Iago is able to tell him anything and have him believe it. Iago stills sees Cassio as a threat to him and his jealousy for Cassio comes out even more when he says:
If Cassio do remain,
He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me Ugly; and besides, the Moor
May unfold me to him; there stand I in much peril. (5,1,18-21)
This statement shows that Iago’s jealousy did not just come from Cassio being promoted to lieutenant, but that he is also jealous of Cassio’s beauty. Iago says that Cassio is better looking than him and that that gives him more reason to want him dead. Iago also wants Cassio dead because he doesn’t want him to find out all the lies that he told about him. He sees Cassio as a threat moving forward and wants the jealousy leads him to ordering Roderigo to kill him.
Jealousy is a destructive trait that leads to bad situations. Jealousy is used as a weapon for iago to achieve what he wants. But it is ruined when his Emilia speaks the truth. By the end of the play all of Iago’s lies fall apart and his plot to is visible to everyone. Iago’s plans backfire and lead to the death of Roderigo, Desdemona, Emilia, and Othello, it also leads to his own punishment as Cassio is promoted to the governor of Venice.