Iago’s jealousy is the catalyst of the play, as it is his jealousy that drives him to ruin Othello. It is evident in Act I scene I that Iago is jealous that Cassio got the position of lieutenant even though “That never set a squadron in the field, nor the division of a battle knows more than a spinster – unless the bookish theoric, wherein the tongued consuls can propose as masterly as he. Mere prattle without practice is all his soldiership.” (I.i. 21-27) Iago clearly thinks that Cassio was the wrong choice, as he has never been out in battle and is unskilled. Unlike Cassio, Iago has the skills and battle experience “And I (of whom has eyes had seen the proof at Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds Christened and heathen) must be beleed and calmed by debitor and creditor.” Othello has seen Iago in action on the field and yet still chose Cassio. Not only is the jealousy of being passed as lieutenant drives Iago but also the possibility of Othello sleeping with his wife “And it is though abroad that ‘twixt my sheets h’as done my office” (I.iii. 379-380) gives Iago even more of a reason to set out and ruin Othello’s life. Mischievous
With the intent of destroying Othello, Iago gets to work on what he can use against Othello to hurt him. Iago becomes very observant of his surroundings, noting what “evidence” he can work with to his advantage. Iago is able to use Cassio's close friendship with Desdemona to poison Othello's mind, convincing him that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair “I speak not yet of proof. Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio; wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure. I would not have your free and noble nature, out of self-bounty, be abused. Look to’t. I know our country disposition well: in Venice they do let God see the pranks they dare not show their husbands; their best conscience is not to leave’t undone, but keep’t unknown.” (III.iii. 196-203) Iago is setting in motion his plan in convincing that...
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