Reputation in Shakespeare's Othello

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Reputation is what people think of you and it is a part of human nature. Nobody can dispute this fact whether they like it or not. To some, their reputation is a blessing because of positive attitudes towards them. To others, it can be an illness that they cannot cure. In William Shakespeare's Othello, the characters of Iago, the two-faced character, Cassio, Othello’s lieutenant at the start, and Othello, the “Black Moor” and the protagonist of the play, show just how important one's reputation can be. Iago's reputation is an honest man and he used this to destroy others’ reputation. Othello has a changing reputation throughout the play. Cassio also has dramatically changing reputation.

“I am not what I am” is a popular quote that Iago honestly says. In this play, Iago is a two-faced character. Iago’s persuasion is strong towards Othello and Cassio. He uses his good reputation as a weapon to destroy everyone’s reputation even though his reputation is the exact opposite of his true nature. This becomes evident when Othello describes Iago as “Honest Iago” and says “this fellow’s exceeding honesty”. Othello is under the impression that Iago is an honest man so he allows himself to be influenced by him and believes that he is trustworthy. Othello then believes him when he suggests that Desdemona is unfaithful to him regarding the fact that he does not know much about relationships and women. Iago also worked hard to destroy Cassio’s reputation by making him drink and making Othello believe that he is in love with Desdemona. Iago also tells us that he cares for his reputation by saying “Good name in man and woman… But he that filches from me my good name robs me off that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed” but then he tells Cassio and Othello that reputation is not important. “…there is more sense that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition…” and “Men should be what they seem”. Without Iago's honest reputation, he would not...
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