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

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

Extracts from this document...


Explore the ways in which Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello It is obvious from the very beginning of the play that Iago plans to get his revenge upon Othello. For instance he comments that "I follow him to serve my turn upon him." However it does not become immediately apparent what Iago is going to do until Act 1 Scene 3 when he states that "To get his place and plume my will...after some time, to abuse Othello's ear that he is too familiar with [Desdemona]." Therefore it is clear that Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello because of his immense jealousy of Cassio which is shown by "For 'Certes' says he, 'I have already chosen my officer.' And what was he? ...One Michael Cassio, a fellow [with] mere prattle without practise." Iago is not only jealous of Cassio, but also of Othello because he believes that "he's done my office." In fact this is entirely refuted by Iago's wife Emilia later on in the play. For instance when both her and Desdemona are discussing whether they would "abuse their husbands," Emilia claims that she would "neither [do so] by this heavenly light." Therefore Iago's jealously of Othello is clearly uncalled for as he has no reason to suspect that Emilia has been unfaithful. Nevertheless, Iago still wants to be "evened, with him wife for wife." Another possible reason for Iago's jealousy could be that the relationship between Desdemona and Othello is a much stronger and more loving one that that between Iago and Emilia. It is clear that the relationship between Iago and Emilia is not always a happy one by "as of her tongue that she oft bestows on me." Therefore I ago may be jealous of Desdemona and Othello's relationship. ...read more.


Despite this, Iago advises Othello to "look to [his] wife, observe her well with Cassio." Iago also plays on the fact that that Othello is a stranger to Venice and so does not know what happens, such as "in Venice they do not let God see the pranks they dare not show their husbands." This shows that because Othello does not know all the ways and customs in Venice, Iago uses this fact to his advantage. It is clear that Othello believes Iago, as he answers rather pathetically "dost thou say so?" Iago almost seems to prove his point by reminding Othello that "she did deceive her father, marrying you." This is clearly doing more than just reminding Othello that it is not the first time that Desdemona has deceived someone, it is also putting ideas of Desdemona's infidelity into Othello's head and yet he replies again in a rather a pathetic way "and so she did," thus showing that Iago's words are having the desired effect upon Othello. Therefore this shows that Iago's plan of destroying the relationship between Desdemona and Othello is beginning to work. It is clear that Iago has realised that at last his doings are beginning to work as he comments that "I see this hath dashed your sprits." However Othello denies this by saying "not a jot." Despite his evil scheme, Iago continues to pretend that he is "loyal," as he does thorough the entire play. This is shown by his seeming concerned attitude- "I'faith, I fear it has." Not only this, but he convincingly lies to everyone thought, about to whom he is loyal. For instance he claims that "Cassio's my worthy friend," when he is plotting to bring him down along with Desdemona and Othello and has already caused him to loose his job. ...read more.


Whereas less noble people such as Iago tend to speak in verse most of the time and yet occasionally Iago does speak in prose: "I have't. It is endangered. Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light," and so shows how skilled Iago is at disguising his personality and appearance in order to fool people and so succeed in his plan to cause the breakdown of the relationship between Desdemona and Othello. Structure is also essential for the success of Iago's mission. For example Iago constantly works on destroying the relationship throughout the play. Also Iago tends to distance himself from the action, such as the fight between Cassio and Roderigo. By doing this, Iago escapes from the blame. Many of the scenes take place at night and so this provides an element of secrecy to the action which helps to disguise Iago's actions, for example Act 1 Scene 1. Also towards the end of the play, the action takes place in increasingly private places away from people such as inside. This means that there are fewer people to become suspicious of Iago which could ultimately cause his plan to fail. Therefore the ways in which Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello are largely by constantly putting doubts into Othello's mind and gradually building upon them into particularly graphic images. Also by lying to everybody, particularly Othello and even using people such as his wife to help him succeed, mainly without their knowledge or consent. Iago also manipulates people so well that they partially cause their own downfall; for instance suggesting to Cassio to get Desdemona to appeal to Othello to rehire Cassio. Word Count: 2,970 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

A solid essay that shows a sound understanding of the play and the characters' roles and purpose within the play.
At times it would be better to reduce the quantity of points being made and focus on good quality analysis and relevance to the question instead.

4 Stars

Marked by teacher Laura Gater 03/05/2013

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)

    Perhaps it was such comments that drove Othello to his demise, and would have done so even in Iago's absence. However, Shakespeare's emphasis on Iago and the thick irony surrounding him suggest that he is much more that just a catalyst.

  2. Marked by a teacher

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

    3 star(s)

    Therefore Shakespeare makes Iago's soliloquies significant by ensuring the audience feel helpless in preventing the tragedy they have foreseen, feeling hatred for Iago as his plans become inevitable. Iago's constant use of satanic imagery in his soliloquies is used by Shakespeare to make it seem he is villainous enough to summon the devil.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Deception in Othello

    3 star(s)

    Iago is also involved in deceiving other charters and stirring their emotions. He exaggerates the situation between Desdemona and her father and forces Rodrigo to follow him. Iago declares Othello as a "thief" who has taken away Brabantio's daughter, whereas in reality she has chosen to go herself.

  2. To what extent is Othello considered a tragic hero?

    This, I believe is the main quality a hero should have to be considered "tragic." A part in the play that is cathartic is when Othello is about to kill himself after having his epiphany. His epiphany comes when Emilia tells him that she stole the handkerchief for her husband,

  1. Free essay

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

    However, Shakespeare has chosen to alter this in the case of Iago, which also helps to reflect his manipulative nature, as he is able to speak in both ways in order to use different people according to their characters. He talks in prose mainly when speaking to characters individually, which enables them to be taken into his confidence.

  2. In Othello Shakespeare explores the nature of social prejudice How far does your reading ...

    stating that he has "won his daughter" and implies that the aforementioned account of Brabantio's frequent invitations instigated his relationship with Desdemona. In order to fully comprehend the controversial nature of Othello's marriage to Desdemona and the subsequent nonchalance with which the Duke addresses it, one must consider the context

  1. How does Shakespeare present Iago as a tragic villain in Act 1?

    that creates the villainous image as we do not know what he is thinking: 'It is absolutely certain that Othello appointed Cassio his Lieutenant, and nothing else is absolutely certain.'4 If what he says is 'true', however, and if the audience could understand the possibility of this truth, then this

  2. Power in Othello

    Yet authority over people can count for nothing in Othello too. Brabantio is a key example of this; as a respected Venetian statesman he expects his daughter to obey him, which of course was a typical patriarchal attitude in Renaissance society.

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