Not so Honest: lago in Othello

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“Honest” is a word that should describe person with the highest amount of respect and decency. In Othello, a Shakespearean play, the commanding officer, Othello, promotes Cassio instead of his long-time friend, Iago. Iago is jealous of Cassio’s new position and plots his revenge while keeping his honest persona. Iago is given the name Honest Iago because he appears sincere and loyal, but all the characters are mistaken. Iago is able to manipulate others into doing actions that benefit him, and Othello’s sorrow, suicide, and wife’s death are directly linked to Iago’s actions. Iago is behind Cassio’s drinking incident, Desdemona being accused of giving Cassio the handkerchief, and tricking Othello into believing that their friendship is true. Each one of these actions led to Othello’s demise and everyone’s tragic end.

Honest Iago is seen as a loyal friend, who looks out for his friends, but they are easily tricked by Iago. The first incident, when the audience sees Iago for who he truly is, when Iago persuades Cassio to drink, while Cassio is supposed to be keeping guard, and even though Iago knows about Cassio’s terrible drinking problem. Cassio starts drinking and soon finds himself fighting Montano. While they fight, Iago secretly tells Roderigo “How now, Roderigo? I pray you after the lieutenant, go” (Act 2, Scene 3, Line 119-120). This quote shows Iago’s true intentions to get Cassio into trouble, even though he is the one who told Cassio to drink and it is one of the first examples when the audience or reader gets to see Iago’s true motives, which are to ruin Cassio’s good name and replace him. After the fight, Othello replaces Cassio with Iago because Cassio brought dishonor to there country. Another example of how the characters don’t know Iago’s true objective is when Othello says “What is the matter, masters? Honest Iago, that looks dead with grieving, speak. Who began this? On thy love, I charge thee” (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 157-159). Othello believes...
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