Othello Essay "To What Extent Is Iago Responsible For The Tragedy?

1058 words - 4 pages

The character of Iago in Shakespeare's "Othello" is possibly Shakespeare's darkest character, not because he kills other characters but for his almost supernatural ability to manipulate the other figures of the play. He manipulates the other characters into following their own agendas and all the while coming closer to his goal of bringing Othello to his downfall. However, Iago needs an ally if he is going to destroy Othello, this comes in the form of Othello's own inner demons. Othello foolishly places far too much trust in "honest Iago", which Iago then uses against him. Soliloquies are the major technique Shakespeare uses in order to show the audience the character's thoughts and motives. Iago's manipulations set the stage for Othello's demise however, it is ultimately Othello's inner demons that bring about his tragic end.Iago's soliloquies give the reader an amazing insight into his mind. His first in Act 1 sc. 3. details his hatred for the Moor "I hate the Moor." As well as his continued control over Roderigo "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse." He suspects Othello of sleeping with his wife Emilia " 'twixt my sheets H'as done my office." Even though he is not completely sure, he will assume it because he hates Othello so much. He speaks of how Othello completely trusts him and how he will use this to his advantage. " He holds me well, " Iago's decides that he will "abuse Othello's ears" and tell him that his wife Desdemona is sleeping with his lieutenant Cassio. He knows that Othello is far too trusting and will be "tenderly led by the nose." This soliloquy is a fantastic technique that Shakespeare uses to show the audience Iago's motivations. These dark motivations are emphasized by the repetition of the line: " I hate the Moor."Act 2 sc. 3 is a major turning point in the play. Iago persuades Roderigo to pick a fight with Cassio in the knowledge that Othello will dismiss Cassio should this happen. Roderigo and Cassio do brawl and Cassio is stripped of his rank and reputation. He confides in Iago and Iago comforts him "Reputation is an idle and most false imposition."Iago's plan is working perfectly and his 2nd soliloquy reveals his next moves in his quest to bring down Othello. He repeats the fact that Othello is completely in love with Desdemona " His soul is so enfetter'd to her love." He describes how he has put Cassio on a course " directly to his good." His thoughts then turn sinister as he uses devilish imagery to describe how he must first appear to be helping Cassio in order to destroy him. " When devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows, As I do now." He finishes the soliloquy by detailing his intent to discredit Desdemona in the eyes of Othello and use her own good nature to "make the net That shall enmesh them all."As Iago continues to poison Othello's mind with the idea that Desdemona is being unfaithful, Othello begins to believe him. Othello sees Iago as...

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