The Admirable Lieutenant in Othello

1352 Words Jul 15th, 2018 6 Pages
Othello, William Shakespeare’s moving tragedy, gives the audience a number of victims, one of whom is Cassio. But this rugged guy keeps recovering and coming back to enter the fray. Let’s talk about him in detail.

Kenneth Muir, in the Introduction to William Shakespeare: Othello, explains the ins and outs of Cassio’s personality:

Cassio is defined partly by the exigencies of the plot, which require him to have a poor head for drinking and to have a mistress; but his chivalric worship of Desdemona, his affectionate admiration for Othello, which enable him even at the end to call him ‘Dear General” and to speak of his greatness in heart, and his professional reputation, which only Iago impugns, build up a complex portrait of an
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He is adept at provoking self-hatred in others because he suffers from it himself. (223)

When the “gallants” arrive, Cassio yields to peer pressure and has a cup of wine, and offers a toast, “To the health of our general!” but then ends his involvement when he comes to a realization that he is getting tipsy: “Let’s no more of this; let’s to our affairs.” Later, in his drunkenness he strikes Roderigo and wounds Montano; and this sadly results in his dismissal (“Cassio, I love thee; / But nevermore be officer of mine.”) Cassio laments the cause of his discharge: “O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!”

Without a job now, Cassio is vulnerable to Iago, who cunningly feigns friendship and offers him a way back into the graces of the general – through Desdemona. Iago contrives to have Othello observe the departure of the ex-lieutenant from Desdemona’s quarters: “Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?” Building on this tiny piece of solid evidence, Iago’s sinister mind develops a grand array of fabricated evidence for incriminating both Cassio and Desdemona. Emilia assists in the betrayal by providing Iago with the key piece of evidence – the decorated handkerchief which the general previously gave Desdemona: “That which so often you did bid me steal.”

Cassio, upon not being notified of any change in his fired status, returns to ply Desdemona

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