Jealousy is a powerful emotion that can blind oneself from identifying the truth. Shakespeare heavily emphasizes this theme throughout the drama Othello, especially through the actions of characters. In the play the heinous antagonist, Iago, uses each character’s jealousy to deceive that person and manipulate the truth. His false promises and deceitfulness bring to the demise of many of the main characters in the play, including the protagonist, Othello. Othello could not have been deceived if it were not for his powerful jealousy. Therefore, Shakespeare is telling us that jealousy is an ugly trait that can hide the truth, which in turn causes many problems between characters in the play.
The play opens with Roderigo and Iago standing in a street in Venice, this is where Iago begins his mischievous plan. Roderigo has longed for Desdemona’s hand and has made the request for her hand to her father, Brabantio, but is repeatedly denied. News then comes in that Desdemona has run off with general Othello and was wed. Roderigo is outraged and Iago promises Roderigo that he will get Desdemona to be his wife soon enough, if all goes to plan (Meyers, 1187-1192).
Already, in Act I, the reader can see how Iago is playing to Rodrigo’s emotions in order to gain personal revenge on Othello. The reader can see that Iago will use Roderigo as a pawn in his plan; knowing Roderigo will do whatever he says. Iago’s reasons as to why he would offer to break up Othello and Desdemona’s marriage include that he is outraged that Othello promoted Casillo instead of him and that he has suspicions that Othello slept with his wife, Emilia (1203). This is the driving factor to Iago’s deceitful actions in the play.
In Act II of Othello the characters all travel to Cyprus, this is when the plot thickens and Iago begins to destroy relationships between the characters (1204). In the first scene Iago reassures Roderigo that Desdemona will grow tired of Othello, however Iago also tells Roderigo that Desdemona will choose Casillo over him. Thus, the plan is for Roderigo to quarrel Casillo. Roderigo does as he is told because of his jealousy that he doesn’t have Desdemona’s hand (1210- 1214). After the quarrel, Iago reveals to the reader that he intends to use the fact that Casillo and Desdemona will be spending more time together, in order for Casillo to get his job back, to convince Othello that she is having an affair (1220).
Othello is an easy target in this drama, because Iago already knows that he is a very insecure person. With that stated, it will be easy for Iago to use Othello’s jealousy to trick him into thinking that Desdemona is an unfaithful wife. Iago will manipulate the way Othello sees things in order to convince him that what he sees is innocent acts between Desdemona and Casillo. Iago’s starts to plant the idea in Othello’s head of an affair after Othello sees Casillo rush leaving Desdemona in a manner that looked as though he is guilty (1223). Alone with Othello,...