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Machiavellianism In Othello

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At one point in your life, you have probably told a little white lie or harmlessly tricked someone into doing something. However, there are some people, Machiavellians, who are master manipulators that will resort to anything in order to reach a goal. In Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago can be seen as a dominantly Machiavellian villain. First, Iago possesses a Machiavellian personality due to the way he manipulates people’s flaws in order to use them “as stepping stones” to reach his goal of getting revenge on Othello (Hartley). For instance, when Iago begins his machination to harm Othello, he tells Brabantio of how “an old black ram/ Is tupping [his] white ewe” (I. I. 94-95). Iago purposely exploits Brabantio’s racism in order to “Plague him…show more content…
I. 286-287). Thus, Iago persuades poor Roderigo to pursue the uprooting of Cassio, believing that it will bring him closer to Desdemona, while in reality, it will only act as a shortcut for Iago to retaliate against Othello’s alleged actions. Moreover, after Cassio loses his lieutenant position due to another one of Iago’s evil plots, Iago sways the desperate and hopeless Cassio to ask kind, sweet Desdemona to help him regain his position, since “She is of so free, so kind, so apt, so/ blessed a disposition” (II. III 306-309). Iago takes advantage of Desdemona’s genuine pureness and altruism and uses it as a “net” to “turn her virtue into pitch” and “undo her credit with the Moor” (II. III. 345-327). The Machiavellian Iago is targeting innocent, undeserving Desdemona to serve his own morbid, manipulative needs. Another key point is how Iago abuses Othello’s gullibility and jealousy by feeding him false information about Desdemona and Cassio to cast suspicion upon his wife’s fidelity. Iago then continues to manipulate Othello and his weaknesses by telling him that Desdemona “did deceive her father, marrying” him and how it is unnatural for a woman “Of her own clime, complexion, and degree” to be with a man like Othello…show more content…
Instead, Iago is a “careful, patient [opportunist]” who can control his impulses well (Hartley). To exemplify, Iago says that he will “abuse Othello’s ear/ That [Cassio] is too familiar with his wife” (I. III. 405-406). Thus, Iago is planning out his evil schemes and thinking them through, showing how he is more calculating than spontaneous. Similarly, Iago states that he will “put the Moor/ At least into a jealousy so strong/ That judgement cannot cure” and “Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me” (II. I. 308-310, 316). Again, Iago concocts his machinations in prior to actually carrying them out instead of acting rashly, like a psychopath would. Moreover, when Iago discovers that Emilia found Desdemona’s treasured handkerchief, he tells himself that he “will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin,/ And let him find it” so that Othello will suspect that Desdemona has been unfaithful (III. III. 358-359). Therefore, Iago, like other Machiavellians, is a thoughtful and patient opportunist that slyly takes advantage of any situation that will help him advance in his goals. Unlike psychopaths, Iago solely stands by and watches his premeditated ploys unfold around
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