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Profile the characters of Iago and Othello, identifying Iago's motivation and Othello's vulnerability. How does Iago use suggestion to bring about the collapse of Othello's character and the destruction of his marriage?

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Introduction

Task: Profile the characters of Iago and Othello, identifying Iago's motivation and Othello's vulnerability. How does Iago use suggestion to bring about the collapse of Othello's character and the destruction of his marriage? "Othello", the story of a great love gone greatly wrong was written by William Shakespeare between 1600 and 1605. It is set principally in Cyprus. The "moor", Othello, rose through the ranks in the Venetian army only to be knocked down by the wicked Iago. He secretly marries Desdemona, the daughter of a Venetian Senator, which is when Iago embarks upon his plan to demolish Othello with the help of his subordinate, Roderigo. With all the love Othello holds for Desdemona, Iago's rumours of an affair between Cassio and Desdemona drive him to the brink of insanity and, at his peak of jealousy; he plans to kill Desdemona and Cassio with Iago's help. However, all does not go according to plan; first Cassio is not killed, then the entire plot is revealed to by Iago's wife, Emilia. At this point Othello realises he has killed Desdemona without just cause. He commits suicide claiming that "his only crime was loving too much". We blame Iago for the deaths that occur at the climax of the play. His use of suggestion breaks down the valiant general, and his production of counterfeit "ocular proof" drives Othello to heartless murder. ...read more.

Middle

Iago encourages his sexual jealousy, a paranoia that both Iago and Othello share. Iago uses a sexual mood to increase this jealousy. He lies about Cassio talking in his sleep of Desdemona, and purposefully uses words like "kissed me hard" and put "his leg over my thigh", which again builds up the anger and jealousy he needs to destroy Othello. In the play Iago relies at times on luck to get him to the next stage of his plan, but without his quick thinking these chances would be wasted. An example of his evil brilliance is when he stages a conversation with Cassio while hiding Othello in the dungeons. He controls the situation and how it will appear to Othello. I ago emphasises the name, "Desdemona", but only whispers Bianca's name. he makes it seem as Cassio is speaking about Desdemona when he talks of Bianca. Iago does not destroy Othello by any physical means; he creates the psychological doubt within Othello which will cause him to self-destruct. When Bianca accuses Cassio of an affair with the owner of the handkerchief Othello gave Desdemona, his suspicions are amplified. The handkerchief that Emilia stole for Iago, becomes the "ocular proof" that convinces Othello that he has betrayed by Desdemona. Without Othello's own flaws and vulnerability this self-destruction would have been impossible for Iago to accomplish. A big weakness that Iago pounces on is Othello's misjudgement of people, which is very evident in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

What I take from this is that Othello believes that death is the easy way out. Buy his own admission death is the cowardly path, so in some way Othello demeans himself even more in taking his own life. In conclusion, "Othello" is not a play set in a linear fashion, but has many different twists and as it moves towards its climax. Sexual Jealousy is a very important factor for both characters, Iago and Othello, and is Iago's most important motivation in my eyes. Iago uses suggestion to deceive Othello, but this is only successful thanks to Othello's poor judgement in character, which is a big vulnerability in Othello. In the end I think Othello and Iago are both guilty. Othello in my opinion is too rash and quick to judge people; he never directly asks Desdemona if she is having an affair. This is his fatal error. Nonetheless, Othello is not an evil character. He commits murder, not for pleasure but out of love. Iago, on the other hand is clearly an evil person, who seems to take enjoyment from the most atrocious acts. The only time he seems remotely sincere is when he tells us the audience of his plot. Tragically, Iago tortures Othello to the end, by not telling him why he took his spirit, and crushed it in such an efficient way. WORD COUNT: 1284 ?? ?? ?? ?? Suhail Patel Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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