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Othello by William Shakespeare

In Othello by William Shakespeare, the villain Iago has many motives for ruining the lives of Othello, Cassio, Desdemona, and Roderigo. They include jealousy, fears of infidelity, greed, and his anger at being passed on for a promotion. These passionate motives drives Iago, turning him into one of the most evil of villains Shakespeare has created. Roderigo a solider in Othellos army and once a courtier of Othellos wife Desdemona is under Iagos spell from the beginning. Iagos manipulates him into aggravating Cassio, Iagos rival and into giving him all his money to sway Desdemona.

Iago tells Roderigo to, ” But, sir, be you ruled by me: I have brought you up from Venice. Watch you tonight; for the command, Ill layt upon you. Cassio knows you not. Ill not be far from you: do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking to loud, or tainting his discipline; or from what other course you please, which the time shall more favorably minister. ” (Pg. 673) Roderigo does this for Iago promises it will make him look good in front of Desdemona. Iago needs to make Cassio suffer and manipulates Roderigo to do it by playing on Roderigos desire for Desdemona.

Iago also uses Roderigo for his money as well as helping his evil plans, ” Roderigo: I am changed: Ill go sell all my land. Exit. Iago: Thus do I ever make my fool my purse; For I mine own gaind knowledge should profane, If I would time expend with such a snipe, But for my sport and profit. ” (Pg. 665) Simply put Iago explains that if it wasnt for his plans and his desire for money he would have nothing to do with a fool like Roderigo. Iagos motives when it comes to Desdemona are quite the same. He uses the young girl as the object of Cassios desire to upset Othello.

Iago also professes his love for the girl but not as a sexual object but as an object to be used to exact his revenge upon Othello. ” Now, I do love her too; Not out of absolute lust, though peradventure I stand accountant for as a great sin, But partly led to diet my revenge,. ” (Pg. 674) Desdemona is the major party in Iagos plan for revenge against Othello. She is so important that Iago confesses his love for her, because of her importance. Cassio is a biting thorn in the side of Iago. Iago is jealous not only of Cassios rank, but also in the way he conducts himself with a higher social class attitude.

Iago anger at being passed for rank by Cassio is evident from the beginning of the play ” Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the city, In personal suit to make me his lieutenant, Off-cappd to him: and, by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place: But he, as loving his own pride and purposes, Evades them, with a bombast circumstance horribly stuffd with epithets of war; And in conclusion , Nonsuits my mediators; for Certes says he, I have already chose my officer.

And what was he? Forsooth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,. ” (pg. 647) Iago is enraged by a inexperienced bookworm taking the position he thought was his. Iago is further moved to destroy Cassio by Cassios upper class conduct. ” a devilish knave. Besides, the knave is handsome, young, and hath all those requisites in him that folly and green minds look after: a pestilent complete knave;. ” (Pg. 673) Iago cares not for the goodness and love in Cassio.

He only cares to destroy and use him for his own personal revenge. Finally Iago greatest treachery comes from his hatred of Othello. He suspects Othello of sleeping with his wife. Iago greatest anger however comes from Othello passing him up for a promotion. For this Iago plans to ruin Othello marriage by lying about Desdemona fidelity. Ironically Iago through out the play suspects Othello of having an affair with his wife Emilia. ” I hate the Moor; And it is thought abroad, that twixt my sheets has done my office:. ” (Pg. 665)

This angers Iago and only increases his desire to ruin Othello. ” And nothing can or shall content my soul till I am even with him, wife for wife,. ” (Pg. 674) Iago will do anything to get his revenge and feel in control. Iago is one Shakespeares evilest characters. No one is safe from his treachery. Roderigo, Desdemona, Cassio and Othello all experience his jealousy, fears of infidelity, greed, and his anger at being passed on for a promotion. Iago uses deception to play one another off each other until they are all destroyed.

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