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Explore Iago's ability to manipulate events in the play. Show how he alters events and changes other characters' minds. Explain why you think he does this.

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Explore Iago's ability to manipulate events in the play. Show how he alters events and changes other characters' minds. Explain why you think he does this. Othello is a 16th century play based on the themes of jealousy, revenge and deception. The whole play revolves around the central protagonist. Iago. Iago makes himself the confidant of all the major male characters. The advice and observations he gives them influence their minds and cause all of the major events in the play to occur. Iago is a very cunning and manipulative person motivated by jealousy, bigotry and revenge. Initially he becomes deeply offended when Cassio is made lieutenant above himself. From this begins a plot that will cause the downfall of Othello. Iago achieves his manipulation by focusing on their weaknesses and fears, for example by using Othello's tragic flaw; his jealousy, Iago manages to distort Othello's views to such a degree that he begins to doubt the faith of his loving wife Desdemona. Iago works and works on Othello until he is so overpowered with the green-eyed monster that he starts to destroy himself and everything around him. The opening scene is very important as its gives the audience their first perceptions of the characters. It also makes the audience fully aware of Iago's character and what he ultimately hopes to achieve. The play is set in a street in Venice, at night. This darkness introduces the idea of disorder and confusion. Before the scene opens, Iago has been pretending to help a young gentleman, Roderigo, who has paid him to arrange marriage with Desdemona, a young aristocrat. As the curtain draws back the audience are faced with a pair of men arguing. Roderigo is complaining that Iago is cheating him and using him for his money. "Tush, never tell me! That thou, Iago. Who hast my purse as if the strings were thine" Iago very quickly and cleverly alters Roderigo's mind and makes him believe that Iago is using the money to benefit his chances with Desdemona. ...read more.


Little does he know that it is just a mere dab in the grand artwork of Iago's plot to destroy Othello. Iago then tells Othello that if Desdemona starts to put forward the idea of Cassio's reinstatement that there maybe something going on between the two. ' Note if your lady (Desdemona) strain his (Cassio's) entertainment. Much will be seen in that'. He knows that Desdemona will put forward Cassio's defence because he told Cassio to go to her for help. When Desdemona starts inquiring about Cassio's reinstatement Othello is going to become very suspicious, this is exactly what Iago hopes to achieve. This is incredibly audacious, as it is all lies, if Othello had decided to talk to Cassio for any reason Iago's plan would have been in pieces, he contrives for this not to happen by creating suspicion amongst the characters. No one really trusts anyone except 'honest Iago.' Iago has spun the web of deceit with himself as the central thread that everyone in the play turns to for help and advice. On top of that Iago tells Othello to "Beware of jealousy!" he says this to insert in Othello's mind that maybe there is something to be jealous about. We know there is nothing to be jealous about and that it is just Iago playing games with Othello. This keeps the audience in anticipation, as they do not know whether Othello will be 'ensnared' in Iago's net, or will he be virtuous and stand true for his loving wife? Iago also tells Othello to "hold her free" this means, "think her innocent" which insinuates that she might have something to hide. All of these intelligent things Iago has said to Othello are working away at his tragic flaw; his jealousy. Everything that has been said to Othello is eating him up because he doubts his wife's innocence. Othello is not totally convinced by Iago's accusations, he asks for proof of his wife's disloyalty "Give me a living reason she's disloyal" Iago is able to provide 'proof' that Desdemona has not been honest. ...read more.


Iago has built up such a false pretence of himself that everyone believes him to be 'honest'. Most of the characters in the play address him as "honest Iago" the audience however know what he is really like therefore creating the irony. There is also a sense of irony when Iago pretends to help all the characters; all the characters come to Iago for advice when we know that he is the last person they should come to. In conclusion it is clear to see that without Iago's ability to alter events and other characters minds, the events in the play would have been very different. Through his role as 'honest Iago' he manages to influence the decisions of the majority of the characters in the play. He makes them behave in the way he wants them to behave, as if they are puppets and he is the master, controlling them at his will. Iago's plans started out as mere jealousy, he was angry that he had not been picked as Othello's lieutenant. Because he believed in his own superiority his jealousy and bigotry turned into an obsession to destroy Othello. During the play Iago demonstrates many tendencies of a psychopath, this could explain why he pursued his jealousy to the extremes of murder. I believe that Iago is the most interesting character in the play because he uses his intelligence and guile to drive events. He leads all the other characters and has control over everyone's actions. Even though this can be deemed as psychotic I respect him more than any of the other characters. He strength shows up over their weaknesses, Iago seems to be driven by 'thwarted ambition'. He strives to avenge the people he is jealous of. Overall Iago's plan worked very successfully. He managed to effect everybody using strong and influential language to get across his meanings. Unfortunately he took his revenge too far and ended up ruining everything that he had worked so hard for. In the end he gained nothing as his plans were discovered and was arrested to be tortured. ...read more.

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