Iago was largely to blame for all the tragedy, possibly the most, as he was the character that caused people to be deceived and was shown as truly a conniving person. Firstly, Iago kills Emilia and Roderigo and he attempts to kill Cassio too, so he is the sole reason that all the tragedy happens, if he hadn’t of stabbed them and caused all the deceit then people wouldn’t have died. A quote that shows him being a murderer is when the stage directions say “Iago stabs Emilia from behind and exit”, showing him being responsible for more tragedy than any other character. Secondly, Iago is jealous of Cassio from the start, so spreads all the lies hoping to hurt Cassio in some way and then leave him looking like he’s responsible for it all, so that he himself receives no blame. This is probably the main reason for all the tragedy, as it fuels Iago to then start telling people all the lies, so as to release some of his jealousy. His furiousness with Cassio is brought across when he says, “Nothing can or shall content my soul ‘til I am even with him.” this also shows how much anger he has for him and he truly wanted to hurt him. Thirdly, he is the one who plants the seed of doubt into Othello’s mind, in turn causing all of the disastrous events after. Also by only giving Othello a small piece of information, he allows his mind to think up its own story and think of the information what he wants and through all of this he continues to act very innocent, “Cassio... no, I cannot think he would steal away so guilty like”, this quotation shows this.
Desdemona is also partially to blame for what happened, as she can also be quite deceptive like Iago and can be quite bitchy at times. Her deceptiveness is shown when she lies to Othello about the hankie, claiming that it is not lost, “it is not lost but what if it were?” when she knows it is, this does not help as not only does it show how capable she is of lying to the man she loves but it also shows how deceptive she can be and this did not help Othello to believe her when she was being truthful. Another thing which could allow people to blame her is that she married Othello, a black man, in a time when this was deeply frowned upon and not accepted in society. In marrying Othello she also went against her father’s wishes and deceived him, “she has deceiv’d her father and may thee” and if she’s willing to deceive her own father then it allows you to accept that she could deceive others too. Lastly, it seems as though she is trying to irritate Othello, by continuously mentioning Cassio to him and almost boasting about him, “I wou’d do much t’atone them, for the love I bear Cassio”. She brings him up in the most inappropriate times, almost as if on purpose, such as when she and Othello are arguing.
Cassio could also be blamed for the tragedy that happens as he makes people suspicious of him and does not help with Othello’s distrust of him. Firstly, when he gets drunk even though he knows he can’t control the things he does when he is inebriated, “I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking”. Him getting drunk caused there to be a lot of problems, as a fight occurred and it started off the huge ordeal. Secondly, he accepts the hanky from Iago to give to Emilia and claims that he found it, saying that he “found it in his chamber”, when we know this is untrue. He also adds to all the conspiracy by using Bianca, then laughing about her in front of Othello, while talking to Iago, causing him to believe Desdemona was having an affair, “So hangs and lolls and weeps upon me ... ha, ha, ha.”. However, as he never knew about Othello overhearing he can’t really be blamed for this because he never knew he was doing it.
Another person that purposely deceives people and adds to the lies is Emilia; she knows exactly what she’s doing and yet continues to lie to her friends. First of all, she steals the hankie from Desdemona when she drops it and then hands it over to Iago even though she must know what he’s using it for, “My wayward husband hath a hundred times bid me steal it.” and even if she doesn’t, she knows it is an important object in her friends’ relationship. She also should have realised what it was that Iago was planning and should have tried to protect her friends and not allow Iago to get away with what he was doing, “They eat us hungerly they are full, they belch us.” and how cunning he was being. She also had the opportunity to let everyone know what it was that he was doing but she never took it and allowed everyone to carry on believing that other people were in the wrong, such as Othello thinking that Desdemona had lost the hankie, when really it was Emilia that had taken it, “I am most unhappy at the loss of it”.
Roderigo could possibly be blamed for the tragedy, as he aided Iago by agreeing to kill Cassio, “How do you mean removing him?” and therefore starting off the series of killings. He also thinks that he can buy Desdemona’s affections with any amount of money that he owns, “put money in thy purse.”, even though she is a married woman. Roderigo is also trying to have an affair with married woman, “My daughter is not with thee.” encouraging her to break her promise to her husband.
In conclusion, in my opinion, more than one person is responsible as if certain people did not help Iago’s story and follow along with it, then all the tragedy would not have occurred. Because it took all of the people to join together and add to all the conspiracy and lies. For example if Emilia hadn’t of stole the hankie and gave it to Othello, then he wouldn’t have had so much to believe that she was cheating on him. Also, if Othello hadn’t of took such extreme actions when he found out things such as that Desdemona was possibly cheating, then maybe so many people wouldn’t have been hurt, as he still chose to act that way and strangle Desdemona.