Iago’s Role In Othello

June 11, 2022 by Essay Writer

“And what’s he then that says I play the villain?”

This rhetorical question of Iago’s soliloquy, almost allows the exploitation of the virtues and weaknesses of his friends. Displaying Iago as a non-apologetic, and self-aware human being. Also to imply a total lack of guilt and conscience, a why to justify his treacherous behavior towards others surrounding him. Conveying him as a psychopath, being in able to display the actions of feeling guilt or concern of his own behavior and the actions that come from that. This line from his soliloquy indicates his malicious intent and foreshadows the devastation of his wicked plot that will eventually unravel and come about. [100]

“I have not deserved this.”

The tension in the play build later in the scene as Othello’s madness deepens. As dignitaries from Venice arrive with news for Othello, Desdemona’s every mention of Cassio prompts angry reactions from her husband. Eventually, the violence that had been threatened boils over and becomes reality as Othello strikes Desdemona in front of everyone. Desdemona’s simple statement of innocence undeserving of such action strikes a powerful reaction by the audience. She’s completely innocent and cannot understand the shocking behavior of her husband. In addition he is completely unrepentant when asked to make amends by those who witnessed the act,  referring to her tears being false, and implying that her tears are not the only thing that are false. [118]

“Look at her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:/ She has deceived her father, and may thee.”

After Desdemona confirms to Brabantio that she is in love with and has married Othello, he offers a fellow warning about keeping a close eye on his new wife. This warning is used later in the play by Iago as evidence of Desdemona’s infidelity. This is a prophetic but deeply ironic warning by Brabantio. He warns Othello to be aware that Desdemona may not be as virtuous as she appears on the surface. Ironically, Brabantio refers to Othello using his “eyes to see,” which is how Othello judges people and situations. He is so twisted by Iago’s lies that he is unable to see the truth about either character. [109]

“My parts, my title, and my perfect soul/ Shall manifest me rightly.”

Othello introduces himself to the audience as a noble character and a man who believes he deserves the respect for those around him. He is very proud of his “ royal” background and beliefs that this should earn him the esteem that should come from such a position.  He craves the regard of the Venetian nobility. Othello is proud of the services he has provided for the Venetian State and believe is that he will be judged on their merits. his word choice exude self-confidence, referring to his “parts”, “title,” and “perfect soul.” ultimately this demonstrates a flaw in Othello’s character and arrogance and belief that men are judged, and can be judged on their actions and reputation. [117]

“Now art thou my lieutenant./I am your own for ever.”

Iago achieved one of his original stated goals at the end of this dramatic scene- to displace Cassio and replace him as Othello’s lieutenant. This confirms for the audience that Othello is completely in Iago’s control. The conclusion to this crucial scene confirms the power Iago now hold over  Othello. Othello appoints Iago as his lieutenant, but this is a hollow appointment as Iago holds all of the power in the relationship. Iago’s statement is deeply ironic. To Othello, it is an oath of faith till the end. However the audience understands that it is Othello who is tragically tied to Iago and not the other way around. [108]

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