It is Iagos jealousy that ensures the disorder and catastrophe of the play. To what extent do you agree with this interpretation and how is this tragic?

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 “It is Iago’s jealousy that ensures the disorder and catastrophe of the play.” To what extent do you agree with this interpretation and how is this tragic?

It has been argued that it is Iago’s jealously that causes the chaotic and tragic events in Shakespeare’s Othello, This may be because of his jealousy of Othello and Cassio for their high positions in life and Iago’s manipulation of these characters. However it has also been argued that without Iago the events within the play are inevitable because the anger and jealously was already inside the other characters and Othello’s naive, untrusting character.

It could be seen that Iago is jealous of other people’s success. He may hate Othello for the authority he has over his professional life and the injustice he feels he receives because of it, “And not by old gradation, where each second stood heir to th’first”1, Iago feels that Othello had ignored the system by promoting Cassio over him because Iago is an Ancient and next in line to the Lieutenant position. In this way we can see that this is a tragedy for Iago who has been working his way up the military ladder and has the Lieutenant promotion unjustly taken away from him. Because of this, it can be argued that Iago is also jealous of Cassio. It could be said that this jealousy wouldn’t exist if Iago felt that Cassio was worthy of the position, “never set a squadron in the field, nor the division of a battle knows”2, Iago feels that he is worthier of the position because of his experience in battle and that he would be able to organise the men more efficiently. In Iago’s eyes it is a tragedy that such an important position was not given to the worthiest person who remains unrecognized for his achievements.

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Iago has the reputation of being an honest man; 14 times other characters refer to him as being honest, this shows that he must have spent most of his life being a trustworthy, honest person and that what he is doing is out of character. Iago’s jealousy is what causes him to use manipulative language, such as repetition - “Put money in thy purse”3 is repeated at least 5 times by Iago. Shakespeare used this manipulative language to put Iago’s ideas into other character’s heads and gets what wants. He later repeats what Othello says “‘what dost thou think?’ ...

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