Othello - Desdemona

In Shakespeare?s play Othello, Iago is the antagonist. That is, he is the villain in the play Othello. He is the person who causes an action to occur which affects the other characters in the play. This action may not necessarily be a good thing. Iago is the catalyst for Othello?s change. He is the reason behind Othello?s changing views of his wife Desdemona, which results in the deaths of many of the characters in this tragedy. In order to understand the role Iago plays in destroying Othello, it is important to understand how Iago uses other characters in Othello to set his devious plot into motion. Iago successfully manipulates the characters involved to further his evil plans. He does this in such a way that the majority of the characters? perceptions of each other change dramatically. Thus leading to Othello?s transformation and Othello?s changing views and behaviour towards his beloved wife Desdemona. Iago firstly uses Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman, in love with Desdemona and then Cassio in the process of annihilating Othello. Cassio is Othello?s Lieutenant. Other characters Iago exploit include his own wife Emilia and Desdemona herself. Iago goes to a lot of trouble to conquer Othello. When Iago?s interaction with the other characters is understood then it can be perfectly recognised, acknowledged and understood how Iago causes Othello?s perceptions of Desdemona to change so drastically and quickly.

Roderigo is the first fall under Iago?s spell of manipulation. Roderigo is convinced that Iago is genuine and does everything Iago tells him to. Iago easily convinces Roderigo to tell Desdemona?s father, Brabantio, of Desdemona?s elopement with a ?moor?. Iago and Roderigo tell Brabantio of Othello?s marriage to Desdemona who rushes over to Othello to unsuccessfully reclaim his daughter. "An old black ram Is tupping your white ewe." (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 90). Brabantio?s perceptions of both his daughter and Othello have changed. Later on Iago uses Desdemona?s deceit towards her father as a way of changing Othello?s perception of Desdemona. He repeats the words Brabantio used "She has deceived her father and may thee."(Act 1, Scene 3, Line 289). Through this quote Iago tries to convince Othello that Desdemona has or could commit adultery seeing though she has already deceived her father in marrying Othello. This is one of the very first things that start Othello?s downfall. Iago is skilfully feeding Othello with lies in which Othello will eventually believe in.

Iago handles Cassio in a more slightly delicate way. Iago?s basic plot is to make Othello believe Desdemona is having an affair with Desdemona. "Cassio?s a proper man: let me see now; To get his place and to plume up my will In double knavery. How? How? Let?s see. After some time, to abuse Othello?s ears That he is too familiar with his wife?" (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 374-378). This quote explains how Iago pretends to be Cassio?s best friend, giving him advice when Othello dismisses him from his office. In actual fact, it was Iago who planned this misfortune and uses it for his own benefit. "For whiles this honest fool Plies Desdemona to repair his fortunes, And she for him pleads strongly to the Moor, I?ll pour pestilence into his ear: That she repeals him for her body?s lust; And by how much she strives to do him good, She shall undo her credit with the Moor. So I will turn her virtue into pitch, And out of her own goodness make the net That shall enmesh them all." (Act 2, Scene 3, Line 320-329). In this part of Iago?s soliloquy, Iago explains how he has given advice to Cassio to go to Desdemona and ask her to plead his case to Othello so that he will regain his position as Othello?s lieutenant as possible. Now as Desdemona speaks about Cassio to Othello, Iago will be continually telling Othello lies of Desdemona?s infidelity with Cassio. This is the next step Iago takes to further his plan. He makes it appear as though Cassio and Desdemona are involved together, having an affair. Othello does not believe Iago. "I do not think but Desdemona?s honest. (Act 3, Scene 3, Line 228). He tells Iago that he is not a jealous man. Othello confidently says that Desdemona is faithful to him and he will not doubt her without any proof. Nonetheless, a tiny seed of