Iago Betrayal In Othello Essay

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The theme of betrayal is recurrent throughout the plot of Shakespeare’s Othello, and the vast majority of his characters participate in quite unreasonable behavior. Specifically, Iago’s complex betrayal schemes begin when Othello chooses the inexperienced soldier Michael Cassio as his new lieutenant. Iago views this decision as an act of disloyalty to him considering his many years of loyal service to Othello and the government. In order to accomplish his harsh revenge against Othello, Iago performs other acts of betrayal to those closest to him, including his friend, his rival, his wife, and ultimately himself. Iago uses his wealthy friend Roderigo in his betrayal of Othello as he persuades him to provide money in exchange for advice on…show more content…
Iago comments, “Cassio's a proper man. Let me see now: To get his place and to plume up my will in double knavery—How, how?” (Act 1. 3. 435-437). It is Iago’s belief that by ruining Cassio’s reputation as Othello’s commander, he will earn himself the position he desires as lieutenant under Othello. Therefore, with prior knowledge of Cassio’s drinking problem, Iago resolves that he must get Casio drunk so that he will pick a fight with Roderigo: “If I can fasten but one cup upon him, with that which he hath drunk tonight, already, he'll be as full of quarrel and offence as my young mistress' dog” (Act 2. 3. 45-47). Iago knows that if Othello witnesses his most honorable lieutenant drunk and out of control, then Cassio’s position will be ruined along with Othello’s reputation. Although in the end his plans prove successful, Iago is forced to put forth a much greater effort than he expected, as Cassio tries to escape the drinking party. Cassio comments, “I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking” (Act 2. 3). Despite Cassio’s efforts to make the honorable choice, he buckles under the pressure and drinks the wine. As a result, Iago succeeds in his cruel manipulation and inches closer towards completing his revenge on…show more content…
Although she is his wife, Iago does not care about her or other women in general: “You rise to play and go to bed to work” (Act 1. 1. 118). Iago takes any opportunity he can find to criticize women as deceptive and hypocritical, saying they are lazy in all matters except sex. He only values Emilia as a tool to help him achieve his revenge of Othello. Despite this, Emilia still seems eager to please him: “I nothing but to please his fantasy” (Act 3. 3. 343). Consequently, she obeys him when he asks her to steal the handkerchief that Othello had given to Desdemona as a love token. Iago believes that his plan, if successful, will convince Othello that his wife is cheating on him and provoke his jealousy further: “To a jealous man, a meaningless little thing like this looks like absolute proof” (Act 3. 3. 332-334). To his surprise, however, Emilia soon realizes that she is being betrayed by her own husband and lashes out at him, only to be stabbed and killed in return. Iago, who is so good at predicting and manipulating other people's behavior, only fails to understand one person...the person he should have known best. Instead of caring for his wife as he should have, he simply uses her as a tool in his revenge on

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