Katie ChaitDue Date : May 18, 2011
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Katie ChaitDue Date : May 18, 2011
In the Shakespearean play Othello, the "Green - Eyed Monster", otherwise known as jealousy, is nothing but a killer. It is a creature that drove Iago to his monstrous revenge plot. During the duration of the play, jealousy was one of the main motives Iago had as a foundation in his plot to destroy Othello.
As the lowest ranking officer, Othello's ancient, Iago wanted to be promoted to the lieutenant position. In the opening scene of Act I, Iago described his jealousy towards Michael Cassio to Roderigo. He described how Cassio had, "never set squadron in the field" and that his knowledge of battle is only known through books (I.I.23). Unlike Michael Cassio, Iago had been in the army for years and felt betrayed by none other than the General himself, Othello.
Iago hated Othello, there was no question about it. When speaking to himself, or to others, Iago only called Othello "the Moor." As said in the critical essay Othello's Alienation, saying the racist term "the Moor", it was Shakespeare's way of playing into the mindsets' of the audience; Iago and the audience had at least one thing in common, they were racist of people that were not Caucasian (Berry). According to Charles Boyce, Iago only thought Othello as a thing not a person and a "brick wall" to what he really desired, power. Othello, had so much power in the army that Iago felt he deserved after all of his years of service. Iago said that Othello had a, "free and open nature" that was to be tested by his monstrous plot (1.3.442).
Not only did Iago hate Othello for his race and power, but he had heard rumor that Othello had an affair with his wife, Emilia. In Act 1, Scene 3, Iago mentions in his soliloquy:
And it is though abroad that ‘twixt my sheets,
‘Has done in my office. I know not if ‘t be true,
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surely.
Iago used this rumor as an idea towards his revenge plot towards Othello, "to abuse Othello's ear, That he is too familiar with his wife," and to make Othello feel his pain by framing Desdemona false towards Othello (I.III.437-441).
Othello, in the beginning of the play, was a strong and powerful man that was in love with the daughter of Brabantio, Desdemona. However, according to Nordlund, the love was "flawed." Although she loved him for his victories and adventures in battle, critics such as Noll and Godfrey felt he loved her because he was loved by someone. Nevertheless, this idea did not prevent them from marriage; the start of the downfall. The marriage between Othello and Desdemona caused pandemonium within the community, especially within Brabantio and Roderigo. Brabantio initially felt that the marriage was the effect of Othello's witchcraft, as said in Act 1 Scene 3, but once Desdemona had informed him otherwise, that did not prevent his feeling of her betrayal. Brabantio was jealous that he no longer had control over his daughter and he warned Othello to watch over her for she can betray him as well; "She has deceived her father, and may thee" (I.III.334).
Roderigo on the other hand, was jealous of Othello for being married to Desdemona because he was in love with he. During the play, Roderigo was the kind of man that did anything it took to gain the love of Desdemona, and Iago clearly used that to his advantage. Iago reassured that Roderigo would gain Desdemona's love by saying, "also she will realize the wrong of her ways," giving hope to the envious Roderigo (I.III.393- 394). In Act II Scene I, Iago informed Roderigo that, Desdemona was no longer in love with Othello but her heart had changed and she loved Cassio instead. Roderigo's jealousy grew tremendously and had caused him to act upon it by attacking Cassio while he was drunk. Roderigo's jealousy not only played into Iago's but it was just a pawn in his game.
Iago did nothing but instigate Othello's jealousy towards Michael Cassio and Desdemona. Initially, Iago had just told rumors to Othello; still giving Othello hope that Desdemona was faithful
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