Roderigo is a rich, unintelligent guy who thinks that if he sends Desdemona enough expensive presents, she'll fall in love with him. He's hired Iago to be his wingman, but Iago basically uses him as a walking ATM. Iago takes the jewelry Roderigo thinks he's giving to Desdemona and sells it for a profit. All Roderigo does in response is to fall for Iago's smooth talking again and again. In the end, Roderigo dies – stabbed in the back, appropriately enough, by his wingman, Iago.
Roderigo, a sucker
As the play opens, Roderigo is pouting, and exclaims, "Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly / That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse / As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this" (1.1.1-3). The "this" is the elopement of Othello and Desdemona. Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and has been giving Iago money to act as his go-between. (From what we know of Iago's character, it seems unlikely that Iago did anything for Roderigo except take his money and make promises.) Of course Roderigo is mightily disappointed to hear that Desdemona has married someone else, and he thinks that Iago should have said or done something about it. Iago persuades him that the elopement was a surprise, and then talks him into creating problems for Othello by shouting out the news of the elopement at the window of Brabantio, Desdemona's father. When Brabantio appears, we learn why Roderigo needed the services of a third party; Brabantio angrily tells him, "I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors: / In honest plainness thou hast heard me say / My daughter is not for thee" (1.1.96-98). [Scene Summary] [pic]
Roderigo is with Brabantio when Brabantio finds Othello at the inn where Othello and Desdemona are staying. Roderigo's only words in the scene, are "Signior, it is the Moor" (1.2.57). A moment later, in order to provoke a brawl, Iago pretends he's about to attack Roderigo, saying, "You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you" (1.2.58). [Scene Summary] [pic]
Roderigo accompanies Brabantio to the Senate and is present as Othello and Desdemona refute Brabantio's charges. He says nothing until he is alone with Iago and then asks, "What will I do, thinkest thou?" (1.3.303). When he's gotten Iago's attention, Roderigo declares that he will drown himself out of despair that Desdemona loves someone else. Iago easily talks him out of that plan, and talks him into the belief that he can get Desdemona into bed if only he will disguise himself and come to Cyprus with plenty of money in his purse. [Scene Summary] [pic]
Roderigo, in disguise, travels to Cyprus on the same ship with Desdemona and Iago. Lurking on the fringes of the crowd, he witnesses the joyous reunion of Othello and Desdemona. When everyone else has left the scene, Iago calls to Roderigo, saying "Come hither. If thou be'st valiant,-- as, they say, base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them--list me" (2.1.214-216). Roderigo does listen to Iago, who tells him that Desdemona is in love with Cassio, so Roderigo needs to be valiant and do something that will anger Cassio and make him lose his job. At first Roderigo is incredulous at the idea that Desdemona could be in love with Cassio, but Iago keeps on talking, and Roderigo agrees to his plan. [Scene Summary] [pic]
Having persuaded Cassio to meet some gentlemen who want to have a few drinks, Iago reviews his plans. He's sure that when Cassio is drunk he'll get quarrelsome. Furthermore, "my sick fool Roderigo, / Whom love hath turn'd almost the wrong side out, / To Desdemona...