• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the presentation of the relationship between Othello and Iago

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explore the presentation of the relationship between Othello and Iago Othello and Iago are the two main characters in 'Othello' and they represent the stereotypical clich´┐Ż of 'good versus bad.' Othello, the noble, honest and brave general represents good, whereas Iago, the bitter, evil, misogynistic lieutenant represents everything evil and destructive. Despite their differences, they have been friends for many years, as Iago has not revealed his malevolent characteristics. He pretends to be a perfect gentlemen and a friend of the community when he is persistently perceived as "honest Iago," yet as the tragedy unfolds, Iago's true colours are revealed. However, Iago's character does not change throughout the play - he was evil in the beginning and remains evil when the play concludes. In contrast, the mannerisms and actions of Othello change dramatically for the worse as the play progresses and the root cause of this is Iago. Iago is very much the instigator of everything evil in the play; he is the catalyst for evil. The relationship between the two main characters is ever-changing as Iago's plot becomes more sinister and his grip over Othello tightens. Iago's hatred for Othello clearly stems from bitterness for not being promoted as "the moor's" lieutenant. Immediately, Iago shows signs towards jealousy of Cassio, "a Florentine," who got promoted as Othello's right-hand man, "Forsooth, a great arithmetician." ...read more.

Middle

By the middle of Act 3, when Iago's poison is clearly working and Othello's mind has turned, the dialogues between the two are often so rapid that they could be enacted as the expansive thoughts of a single mind at war with itself. Othello is thinking the worst, calling for blood and disregarding all pretences of reflection, which is a total contrast to his former self. After finding out the false truth, Othello seemed to have become the master of taking things to the extreme, "O, blood, blood, blood!" and becomes equally good at making rash decisions, "That Cassio's not alive." The relationship between Othello and Iago is at its most crucial in Act 3 scene 3, in which Iago convinces Othello of the affair between Cassio and Desdemona. This scene dramatically highlights Iago's status in the relationship between himself and Othello. At first, he exploits Othello's insecurity by planting a seed of doubt in Othello's mind after seeing Cassio innocently walking away, "Ha! I like not that." G. Salgado describes this innocent-seeming half-line as 'the first poisonous drop in the hellish brew concocted by Iago.' Immediately Othello inquires into what he means and Othello's insecurities shine through. Iago manages to establish his mastery and Othello fast becomes the underdog. The unerring trust that Othello has in Iago is vital in their relationship as it enables Iago to work his witchcraft without fear of getting found out. ...read more.

Conclusion

Othello is an outsider and he has an outsider's insecurities. On one level Iago is playing on those insecurities; on another, Iago is that devilish part of Othello's mind that houses those insecurities. Their dialogues in the later scenes of the play reflect the lack of stability of someone who has lived too long in his own mind, and whose sense of reality and actuality has become almost completely internal. The extraordinary relationship that exists between the traumatic, noble moor and the cunning, deceitful misogynist finally collapses after Iago's villainous plot is revealed, albeit after Othello has murdered his wife. He eventually stabs Iago, leaving him wounded but not dead and describes him as a "demi-devil." After subsequently stabbing himself, he falls down on Desdemona and dies. The once powerful, poetic leader of men has fallen into a world of agony and turmoil due to a unique relationship with a villainous "Spartan dog." To some extent, it is possible that Iago is not even necessary in those final scenes for the tragedy to take place due to the inhuman emotional state that Othello was sustaining. Even at the end of the play, Iago holds the power by refusing to give Othello any reasons for his evilness, "I bleed sir, but not killed." This shows the almost unimaginable effect that Iago must have had on his mind, and Othello, by this stage of the play, would be quite capable of creating his own Iago if the real one were suddenly to withdraw. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the presentation of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello.

    5 star(s)

    He also says that the 'Moor is of a free and open nature', suggesting that without Iago, Othello would have no reason to doubt Desdemona's faithfulness as he takes things at face value. Iago's relationship with Roderigo must also be noted.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the ways in which Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello

    4 star(s)

    the relationship between him and Desdemona, he continuously works on this throughout the play. For instance, even before he starts destroying the relationship, he draws unnecessary attention to it, for example - an "old black ram is tupping your white ewe."

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent is language central to the understanding of Othello and Macbeth

    4 star(s)

    Iago also does not see Othello and Desdemona's elopement as romantic, as many modern day audiences would; he sees it as a regretful action made as a result of their mutual lust. This could represent the views of some members of Shakespeare's audiences who, in general, saw marriage as a

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How significant are Iagos soliloquies to the development of tragedy in Othello?

    3 star(s)

    By Shakespeare showing the clear contrast in Othello's language style, Iago's influence is highlighted as he corrupts Othello throughout the play. Othello's imagery is created to resemble Iago's closely before killing Desdemona, crying 'O ill-starred wench' and hollering 'whip me, ye devils'.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss how Iago manipulates language to achieve his aims

    3 star(s)

    to the audience in lines 325-7, 'Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ' and it is on this principle he intends to plant the handkercheif on Cassio. To a critical and reasoning thinker, the evdience which the handkerchief supplies would be deemed

  2. How does Iago poison Othello's mind in Act 3?

    This could be again to build the mask of friendship but also to encourage more questions to be asked. He also asks not to strain it to "grosser issues nor to larger reach than to suspicion", which allows Othello to believe that there is something more within this.

  1. shakespeares presentation of Iago

    Also Iago knows that if Othello was to see this he would be very angry about it. Iago knows how much the handkerchief means to Desdemona; the handkerchief is a symbol of their relationship. Emilia pleads to Iago to give the handkerchief back to Desdemona because she knows how precious the handkerchief is to Desdemona, 'Give't me again.

  2. Free essay

    To what extent is Iago responsible for the downfall of other characters in Othello?

    He also wants to ensure that Roderigo travels to Cyprus with the Army, because Iago needs him in order to carry out his plan for Cassio and Othello's downfall. When 'controlling' Roderigo, Iago uses his knowledge of his weaknesses, in this case his love for Desdemona, in order to get what he wants.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work