Othello as the Greater Evil in William Shakespeare’s Othello

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Othello as the Greater Evil in William Shakespeare’s Othello

What makes one person to be considered evil, while another is considered righteous? The character Iago, in William Shakespeare’s Othello, could be considered evil because of his plot against Cassio and Othello. Othello, could be considered righteous, because he believes his wife has been unfaithful. The line between these two labels, evil or righteous, is thin. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. Iago is evil in his actions towards Othello, but between the two, Othello is the most evil for reacting to lies in the most violent of ways.

The evil in Iago becomes visible from the very beginning of the play. He explains at the beginning how he was passed over for the
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2.3.601). Later on, Othello seems to expect that something will go wrong when he proclaims to the exiting Desdemona that he deeply loves her and that "when I love thee not, Chaos is come again" (Oth. 3.3.619). This may be a very innocent proclamation of Othello’s love, but in reality it is an ironic lead into what Iago has in store for the two of them.

Iago’s story of Desdemona and Cassio has the power to turn a man in love into a man full of hatred. Othello’s attitude, during the first discussion with Iago, is one of clear denial. He claims that he would simply "whistle her off, and let her down the wind", or divorce her in other words (Vanita 3). As time goes on, the accusations that Iago has made, against Cassio and Desdemona, begins to churn in Othello’s mind. He tries hard to forget the claims but when Iago offers him proof, he begins to break down and cries out "I’ll tear her to pieces" (Oth. 3.3.631). One would normally ignore this remark, assuming that he was simply speaking in anger, if it were not for his call for "revenge" shortly after (Oth. 3.3.631). The true evil in Othello begins to show when he commands Iago to kill Cassio by saying "Within these three days let me hear thee say / That Cassio’s not alive" (Oth. 3.3.632). What makes this directive so evil is that Othello has not yet seen any proof. He has only heard the accusations from one person (Iago), and yet he

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