Iago uses cunning to twist the people around him to his will. An example of this can be seen when Iago tells Rodrigo that it would be beneficial to have Cassio killed because Cassio is another suitor for Desdemona and Rodrigo attempts to kill him.
The destruction of the Turkish fleet allows people to celebrate the victory and Othello’s marriage. Iago persuades Cassio to get drunk and Cassio becomes more aggressive as he becomes more drunk which enables Rodrigo to provoke Cassio and they fight. Iago finds a governor called Montano and leads him, seemingly by chance, to the brawl. When Montano sees this he tries to break up the fight but is injured in his attempt. This leaves Iago free to tell Othello his own version of the events. This leads to Cassio’s eventual dismissal. Iago then encourages Cassio to ask Desdemona for help in making her husband change his mind about the dismissal. Iago uses Cassio’s pleadings as false evidence to Othello of Desdemona’s secret love for Cassio.
Cassio tries to see Desdemona so that he can determine how much progress she has made with Othello as far as his dismissal is concerned. Emilia, Desdemona’s lady in waiting, tells Cassio that his problems may soon be solved as Desdemona has already begun to intercede for him. Desdemona tells Cassio that she is doing everything she can to persuade her husband to reinstate him. After Cassio leaves, Othello arrives with Iago and Desdemona pleads with Othello on behalf of Cassio. He agrees to her request. When Desdemona leaves, Iago leaves Othello with a clear impression that he knows something about Cassio which he would rather not discuss. Othello insists that Iago tells him what is on his mind, and so Iago directs Othello into thinking about the relationship between Desdemona and Cassio which leads on to him having feelings of jealousy. Othello’s behaviour, when Desdemona and Emilia reappear, leads her to believe something is wrong with Othello. Then Othello and Desdemona leave and Desdemona accidently drops her handkerchief. Emilia picks up the handkerchief and gives it to Iago. This gives Iago a plan which would make Othello more suspicious. When Othello returns he is sure of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness but he still wants proof. Iago tells him that Cassio has talked in his sleep about Desdemona and that he has wiped his beard in her handkerchief. Othello believes Iago and plans revenge. He asks Iago to murder Cassio and says that he will kill Desdemona himself.
Iago continues to plant ideas into Othellos mind and enables Othello to listen to a conversation between Cassio and Iago. Othello is led to believe that the conversation is about Desdemona when in fact it is about Cassio’s real lover. His passion is aroused more when Bianca arrives with Desdemona’s handkerchief, enraged that Cassio should have another woman’s item in his possession.
Cassio is attacked by Rodrigo but only injuries are sustained, disappointing Iago, who thought that they might kill each other. Othello arrives and assumes that Iago has attacked Cassio as they planned. He goes off to kill Desdemona. In the mean time Iago kills Roderigo.
Even though Desdemona protests her innocence, Othello still kills her. Emilia then realizes that Iago has poisoned the mind of Othello. She tells him that Cassio is not dead and that it is all Iagos doing. Othello goes after Iago who attacks and kills Emilia. Cassio also tells Othello that Desdemona’s protests of innocence had been the truth. The play ends with a distraught Othello committing suicide when he realizes what has happened.
Overall, this play is a clever web of intrigue and deceipt which ends with no-one getting what they actually wanted. It shows how lack of trust combined with dishonesty can destroy everything.