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Othello Character of Jago is the clue to understanding all other characters in Othello. Jago appears as a person who starts mean intrigues around Othello's personality. Eternal struggle good v. evil plays its role in the play: the meaner is Jago, the more trustful Othello should be. When you read the play, you create your own picture of the evil: Iago uses all possible tricks and lies in order to reach his aim. One of the techniques used by Jago is deception by using the hidden meaning of his words.
The context can be hidden from the addressee but at long last, the logics of behavior will give the liar away and will expose his real thoughts and intentions. Shakespeare often uses this technique in Othello. Under the mask of friendship and compassion Jago takes revenge on Othello. Jago kindles suspicion and pushes Othello to extreme. By his nature Iago is cad and a mean person. He has to serve the man he hates from the bottom of his heart.
Iago cannot be the witness of Othello's and Desdemona's happiness and creates a dreadful plan in order to ruin their love. Iago is completely opposite to Othello: he is envious, jealous, sly and skilful. Iago is able to do any mean thing in order to ruin harmony between Othello and Desdemona. Iago deceits Rodrigo, he promises him Desdemona's love and forces Rodrigo to do whatever Iago wants. Iago simply uses Rodrigo as an instrument in his intrigues. He forces Rodrigo to make Cassio dead drunk, to tease him, to provoke him and to kill.
Lets examine this episode in more details. It happens when the inhabitants of Cyprus are happy because storm ruined the Turkish ships. However, the storm also dispersed the ships from Venice and Desdemona had to enter the shore before her husband. While Othello's ship was still in the sea, the officers entertain Desdemona by their talks. Iago says peppery words about the women. Desdemona is shocked by his behavior (O, fie upon thee, slanderer!
ACT II, Scene 1), but Cassio protects Iago and says that Iago is a soldier and tries to speak truth by simple words: He speaks home, madam: you may relish him more in the soldier than in the scholar. (ACT II, Scene 1) Othello enters the scene. Desdemona is happy to see him. Iago is mad about their love and promises to himself that he will do everything to ruin their happiness: I'll set down the pegs that make this music, As honest as I am (ACT II, Scene 1) Before going to sleep general asks Cassio and Iago to check the guard. Iago proposes Rodrigo to drink the health of Othello and then starts to tell that Desdemona loves Rodrigo and Rodrigo has a chance to conquer her.
Finally, he asks Rodrigo to use any possibility to make Cassio angry: do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting his discipline, or from what other course you please, which the time shall more favourably minister (ACT II, Scene 1) Iago continues that as far as Cassio is rash, and very sudden in choler, and haply with his truncheon may strike at (ACT II, Scene 1) Rodrigo, it will be a perfect opportunity to cause these of Cyprus to mutiny and in such a way, they will have to displant Cassio. He adds that such action will help Rodrigo to reach his aim to get Desdemona's love: So shall you have a shorter journey to your desires by the means I shall then have to prefer them; and the impediment most profitably removed, without the which there were no expectation of our prosperity (ACT II, Scene 1) So, Rodrigo, deceived by Iago, provokes Cassio and starts a quarrel. One of the officers tries to stop them but Cassio takes out his sward and injures the officer. Iago immediately starts to shout. Othello comes. Iago here acts like complete scoundrel and deceiver.
An honest Iago explains Othello his version of what happened. Iago speaks in such a way that Othello (who trusts Iago) says that Iago tries to protect his friend Cassio because Iago is very kind: I know, Iago, Thy honesty and love doth mince this matter, Making it light to Cassio (ACT II, Scene 1) Othello displaces Cassio. Then in the next episode of the play Cassio sobers up and feels his guilt. Iago from all his loving heart gives advice to Cassio to try renewing friendship with Othello through his wife Desdemona. He says that Desdemona is an opened-hearted and for sure will help Cassio: this broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my fortunes against any lay worth naming, this crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before (ACT II, Scene 1) Cassio trusts Iago and leaves to find Desdemona: he swears that he will beseech the virtuous Desdemona to undertake for (ACT II, Scene 1) him. He dont remember who made him drunk, provoked for a fight and defamed him.
Iago is happy: now naive Desdemona will ask Othello to forgive Cassio and by doing that she will arouse suspect and Othello's jealousy. Desdemona promises Cassio to stand up for him: If I do vow a friendship, I'll perform it To the last article: my lord shall never rest; I'll watch him tame, and talk him out of patience; His bed shall seem a school, his board a shrift; I'll intermingle everything he does With Cassio's suit (ACT III, Scene II) Both of them are naively affected by kind Iago who is so sincere and so compassionate. At the same time Iago starts to provoke Othello by his mean words. First Othello cannot understand why Iago asks him not to be jealous, then he starts to feel doubt in Desdemona's love, and finally asks Iago to keep an eye for Desdemona: If more thou dost perceive, let me know more; Set on thy wife to observe (ACT III, Scene II) Othello is upset.
His young wife decides that Othello is sad because of headache. She tries to put a handkerchief on Othello's head, but Othello refuses. The handkerchief falls down. Emily, the companion of Desdemona, takes the handkerchief because her husband asked her to steal this family relic. This handkerchief Othello's mother gave to Othello, and Othello gave it as a present during their wedding. Iago thanks to Emily but he do not explain her why did he need the handkerchief.
He just asks her to tell nobody about it and says: I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin, And let him find it. Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmations strong As proofs of holy writ: (ACT III, Scene II) Jealous Othello cannot believe that his wife betrays him. Othello demands from Iago direct evidences of Desdemona's betrayal: Give me the ocular proof; Or, by the worth of man's eternal soul, Thou hadst been better have been born a dog Than answer my wak'd wrath! (ACT III, Scene III) Now Othello cannot stop suspecting Desdemona. Iago explains that Cassio is an honest man and cannot do such mean things.
However, he adds that probably, Cassio loves Othello's wife, and, what is more, he heard that Cassio spoke about his love to Desdemona and wiped his face with the handkerchief. Othello gets angry and asks Iago to kill Cassio: Within these three days let me hear thee say That Cassio's not alive (ACT III, Scene III) Iago is happy but pretends that he is upset and asks not to kill Desdemona. In the next scene naive Desdemona again tries to protect Cassio and Othello feels fury. Emily asks Desdemona if she is not afraid that her husband is jealous, but Desdemona replies: I think the sun where he was born Drew all such humours from him (ACT III, Scene III). Othello enters and Desdemona speaks about Cassio. Furious Othello asks Desdemona to give him a handkerchief.
Desdemona replies: I have it not about me. Othello asks her to show the handkerchief and Desdemona makes everything in order to calm Othello down. He doesnt believe to her wife. He feels jealousy. Cassio finds a handkerchief at his home and gives it to his friend Bianca to copy the ornament. At the same time, Iago pretends that he wants to calm Othello down, but instead continues with his intrigues.
Then he asks Othello to hide somewhere and to listen to their talk with Cassio. He says that they will speak about Desdemona. In reality Iago asks Cassio about Bianca. Cassio happily speaks about Bianca, Othello in his place dont hear at least half of the words and thinks that Cassio laughs at Othello and Desdemona.
Unfortunately, Bianca comes and throws the handkerchief at face of Cassio. Bianca is sure that this handkerchief belongs to Cassio's lover. Cassio leaves to calm Bianca and Iago continues to tease Othello. Iago advises Othello to throttle Desdemona in her bed. Othello agrees. In such a way, by all these intrigues and lies Iago provokes Othello to kill Desdemona.
Iago undertakes all efforts to reach his aim. He forces Othello feel desperate hope, jealousy and love. Iago drops hits, arouses suspicion and jealousy, uses masterly created phrases, lies to Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Rodrigo and, finally, his lie pushes Othello to murder. Bibliography: Shakespeare, W.
Othello, the Moore of Venice. Retrieved October 23, 2006. web
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