Honest Iago

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In the play Othello, written by Shakespeare, the most interesting and complex character is Iago. All of the other characters in the play know him as Honest Iago, but from a reader s standpoint that is clearly not the best nickname for him. He has a unique gift to read others character and personality. Iago uses this gift to manipulate others into doing things that, in the end, will benefit him and move him closer to his goals. From the very beginning of the play Iago wants vengeance on Othello. He starts putting a plan together in his head to bring Othello down. He figures the best way to accomplish this is to go after his wife Desdemona, which Othello cared for very much. He literally uses every character in the play to carry his plan out. The first of these characters is Roderigo. Iago knows that he is in love with Desdemona and he would do anything to bring her closer to him. He tricks Roderigo out of money and jewels, and also uses him to carry out his plan later on in the play. He could have gotten rid of Roderigo first thing, but he recognizes his usefulness. One example of his usefulness would be: provoking him to pick a fight with Cassio, after Iago gets Cassio drunk. Since Desdemona is the way that Iago plans to bring Othello down, he starts paying close attention to her actions. This is fairly easy for Iago since he is Othello s right hand man. He notices that she likes Cassio s company and keeps encouraging Othello to have him around him more often. Then Iago starts casually mentioning to Othello that he himself has noticed Desdemona acting suspicious around Cassio. He suggested that there may be an affair going on and that he would keep an eye on her for Othello. Iago knowing the whole time that Desdemona would never be unfaithful to Othello, but this is just one of the steps in his plan to bring Othello down. The next part in Iago s deceitful plan is to get proof for Othello that Desdemona is indeed having an affair with Cassio. Othello has given Desdemona a handkerchief that has been in his family for a long time. He believes this handkerchief has magical abilities because it kept his parents together and trouble free for a long time; this is why he gave it to her. Iago knows this and he also figures that the handkerchief is potential proof of her un faithfulness. This is where he brings his wife Emelia into the big scam. Emelia is Desdemona s mistress so she would have access to the handkerchief. Iago asks her to get it for him. Since she feels rejected and not very important to her husband, she is glad to do whatever he says, hoping to get some attention from him, and having no idea what this would cause, gets it for him. Meanwhile, as Emelia is in the process of getting the proof for her husband, Iago is setting up a meeting for Cassio and himself. He tells Othello about this meeting and hides him nearby to let him hear the proof with his own ears. Well, when they do meet Cassio begins telling Iago about one of his lovers, but it was not Desdemona. Othello overhears this as he is hiding, but he thinks that Cassio is talking about Desdemona! This just adds to the idea that Iago is trying to put in his head, and will eventually lead to him to the end of his life with many others as well. Now that Iago has the handkerchief, he is certain that this will tie it up for Othello, and make his plan successful. Othello notices that Desdemona is missing the han

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