Critical Study – Othello Essay
A play dominated by deep, extreme interactions between characters and audience is The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice, written by William Shakespeare in 1406. The intense relationships between characters are a focus point of which honesty and deception are at the base within this play. Iago uses Roderigo, Emilia and Cassio as pawns, tools, and guides – the interlocking pieces in his puzzle to eventually strike at Othello and unleash the devastating horrors of jealousy, in order to denounce him from upper society and loss of vital respect and reputation.
Roderigo is unknowingly exploited for money and manipulated during Iago’s personal quest of vengeance against Othello. Many times Roderigo and Iago both reference to the prominent fact that Roderigo is Iago’s beneficiary, his money bag, but what Roderigo does not realise is that he is in fact continuing to provide for non-existent results and is being misused by Iago. Roderigo is honest in his lust for Desdemona and Iago deceives him with it. Upon Roderigo’s acceptance of defeat and surrender it is Iago that persuades him to keep on, and to “put money in thy purse” – Act 1: Scene 3.
Critical Study – Othello Essay Essay Example
He repeats and reuses this phrase to emphasise their meaning throughout his debate for Roderigo to persist in the pursuit of Desdemona (i. e. money for Iago). Roderigo is but a trust fund and dupe in Iago’s grand scheme against Othello. Regardless of Emilia being the voice of reason in Othello, even she succumbs to Iago’s deceptions. In Act 3: Scene 3 Emilia finds Desdemona’s handkerchief, “I am glad I have found this napkin/This was her first remembrance from the Moor” yet despite knowing its importance, she gives it to her husband (Iago).
Emilia doesn’t know what Iago will do with Desdemona’s precious handkerchief nonetheless she yields, “I nothing but to please his fantasy”. Upon receiving it from his wife he dismisses her and her questions with, “Be not acknown on’t; I have use for it. Go, leave me,” he uses high modality and authority – enforcing his superior place and dominion over her as his property as women were in Shakespeare’s Jacobean era. Emilia shows her honesty and naivety to her husband’s plans but still betrayed Desdemona to be a true and faithful wife; Iago does earnestly want this handkerchief but as he does with most things, lies to acquire it.
The handkerchief is the catalyst within his plot of Cassio and Desdemona’s supposed affair, which sows the dissention between Othello and his newlywed bride. Cassio is a mere puppet to the skilled puppeteer of Iago’s pretense and deviousness, a key element and casualty of Iago’s conspiring plot. Although Iago’s final aim is shrouded, his malicious ambition is clearly evident when he says, “If I can fasten but one cup upon him With that which he has drunk to-night already He’d be as full of quarrel and offence As my young mistress’ dog” in Act 2: Scene 3.
His use of simile and bestiality of comparing people to animals fully portrays his purposeful wrongdoing, vindictive nature, and the evilness of his intent. The character of Cassio lies at the heart of this induced make-believe scandal, his honesty and loyalty to Othello, Desdemona and for fellow comrades (Iago) is what blinds him to the defamation of first himself and then also Othello in the collusion manufactured by Iago. Othello’s character progresses throughout the play Othello along a pathway deliberately set by Iago with misleading and false accusations, which in turn brings Othello’s downfall.
Othello becomes the very persona of the green-eyed monster of jealousy just as Iago foreshadowed in Act 3: Scene 3, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;/It is the green-eyed monster whish doth mock”. During his reveal of the supposed affair of Desdemona and Cassio, Iago’s character uses language techniques such as pause, intonation and inflection as Shakespeare intended, causing Othello to get frustrated, impatient and underlying annoyance, which leads him to say, “By heaven I’ll know thy thoughts”.
Iago lulls a false sense of safety and false anxiety leading Othello to believe he is honest, especially when he says “I should be wise, for honesty’s a fool/And loses that it works for”, “To be direct and honest is not safe” in Act 3: Scene 3. Othello believes Iago is honest and trusts him undoubtedly because of the mateship that exists between comrades, Iago uses this connection to mislead and manipulate him. Iago is a conniving and deceiving puppeteer to all those in the play, all in
order to attempt to bring Othello’s downfall of office, respect, and reputation. Through Iago’s intelligence and knowledge of potential and existing weaknesses within characters he is able to tell and lie to the characters, effectively manages to manipulate and bring about the final tragedy in Othello. The concept of honesty and deception between throughout this play by William Shakespeare is intense, important, and prominent.