Iago's Manipulative Nature in Shakespeare's Othello Essays

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Iago's Manipulative Nature in Othello

Iago's manipulative nature has a profound effect on the decisions made by other characters in Shakespeare's ‘Othello’. Through his relations with those around him Shakespear characterizes him as a man full of malice, vengeance and dishonesty that is wholly inspired by jealousy. Furthermore it would appear that Iago has an exceptional ability to scheme, a talent which he uses to snake his way into the lives of others and exploit them through their weaknesses. Whether he does this for profit or for pleasure is a separate issue.

Throughout the course of the play, Iago crosses the path of each major character we encounter. Though his effect varies according to characters, he is a presence in …show more content…

Act I. iii. 393-395).

In this way, Iago finds Rodrigo's "soft spot" and uses it to his advantage, that being his interest in Desdemona in order to gain more useful information. Thus we can see the way in which Iago holds on to this information and twists its innocence for his gain.

Othello is the character with whom most of Iago's methods have success. His weakness as a jealous lover is apparent early on, but only after Iago’s has planted the seeds of doubt within his mind. Such is Othello’s trust for Iago that he uses the misnomer of describing Iago as ‘honest Iago’ and irony considering the action held within the play. The trust is obvious and implicit and thoroughly entrenched within the language. Othello surmises on the aforementioned doubts during the last act of the play when he says;

"...speak of me as I am... Then must you speak of one that loved not wisely, but too well..." (Othello. Act IV. ii. 402-404).

By taking advantage of this fact, he is able to kill two birds with one stone. Iago feeds on Othello's jealousy by setting Casio up to look like he is conducting an extra marital affair with Desdemona, refuting Othello’s initial denial. However, eventually, Iago has Othello so angered that he accepts Iago's offer to kill Cassio for him.

"And for Cassio, let me be his undertaker. You shall hear more by midnight." (Othello. Act IV. i. 230-231.)

This manipulation in character from someone who we sympathy with, to someone who

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