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"Whilst I ago manipulates other characters for his own ends, they hardly help themselves". How far do Othello, Cassio and Desdemona provide Iago with enough evidence for him to undo them?

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Introduction

"Whilst I ago manipulates other characters for his own ends, they hardly help themselves". How far do Othello, Cassio and Desdemona provide Iago with enough evidence for him to undo them? Although Iago cleverly manipulates situations and people in his aim to seek vengeance, the other characters contribute to their own destruction through their individual character traits. Many of the characters have qualities that are essentially worthy but which are ironically able to be used by Iago as weapons against themselves or others. Desdemona's attractiveness together with her charitable mind and pity for others is a goodness which Iago can use to 'enmesh them all'. Iago recognizes Othello's desire for knowledge makes it possible for him to corrupt Othello's mind whilst Cassio's good manners prove to contribute to his downfall. Iago never forces any of the characters to do anything against their will, his main achievement, through his universal trustworthiness, is to get others to see things from his point of view. Othello sees him as a soul mate, his wife as a strumpet and his best friend as his sworn enemy. Iago sees Desdemona's sexual attractiveness, which is deliberately exaggerated by Shakespeare, as an opportunity to use Desdemona in Othello's downfall. She is described by Cassio as 'divine Desdemona'. ...read more.

Middle

A pestilent complete knave, and the woman hath found him already'. Cassio is a perfect gentleman and never acts improperly towards Desdemona but Iago uses his correctness to poison Othello's mind into thinking he is Desdemona's lover. Cassio is able to get close to Desdemona as he was an integral part in Othello's wooing of her, carrying love tokens and messages between the two lovers but Iago is agble to use this fact to suggest improper behaviour between Desdemona and Cassio. In Act 3 scene 3, he plants a seed of suspicion in Othello's mind when they enter the scene and see Desdemona talking with somebody, who Iago knows is Cassio, hastily leaving as he says to Othello 'Cassio, my lord? No, sure, I cannot think it,? That he would steal away so guilty-like,/Seeing you coming'. Iago is able to imply that Cassio's liaisons with Desdemona have been less than innocent. Iago uses Cassio's weakness of character to his advantage as Cassio openly admits that is unable to handle his drink as he tells Iago 'I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking'. However, Cassio is easily convinced by Iago that it is in honour of Othello that he should take part in the festivities and so Cassio reluctantly agrees to join in. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wear your eyes thus: not jealous, nor secure.' Due to his lack of judgment he is willing to sacrifice the wife that he loves and his most trusted friend. He is unable to see through the fa´┐Żade of Iago. Othello has little experience of corruption is ignorant of Venetian woman. Iago plays on this, as he is trying to insecure Othello's racial position, 'I know our country disposition well: in Venice they do let God see the pranks they dare not show their husbands; their best conscience.' As Othello is an outsider, his knowledge is limited so Iago lies to him and gives him his stereotypical view of Venetian woman. As Othello and Desdemona are newly married he would not know Desdemona that well. Although Iago is an evil schemeing character, his plans only succeed as he uses the weakness of other characters and exploits them. Cassio, Desdemona and Othello all display traits that make them vulnerable which Iago recognises and utilises in his over all plot to bring about the destruction of Othello. Cassio openly admits to being proud and ashamed of his behaviour. His natural attractiveness is used against him. Desdemona is targeted because of her sexuality which Iago knows he can wound Otehllo with. And Othello displays powerful emotions which Iago is able to turn from love to jealousy. The main characteristic that each person displays that enables Iago to succeed is trust. ...read more.

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