British & World Literature
February 18, 2012 In the play Othello, written by William Shakespeare, the antagonist Iago manipulates other characters. He makes them act in ways that benefits his plan of destroying Othello by making him believe that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with his lieutenant, Michael Cassio.
In the beginning of the play, Roderigo who is in love with Othello’s wife, Desdemona, comes to Iago for help. Iago manipulates Roderigo by promising him Desdemona’s attention and love if he “put money in thy purse,” as Iago says. Roderigo gives money to Iago in the mistaken belief that Iago is using his money to help him get to Desdemona, but Iago is using it to finance his own plan. Roderigo is a desperate character in the play and is easy tricked by Iago, because he doesn’t think he has anything to lose and because he would do anything to get Desdemona. His desperate feelings for Desdemona and Iago’s convincing manner make Roderigo easy to deceive.
Iago has also a wife, Emilia. He doesn’t really manipulate her, because she is unaware of what’s going on between Othello and Desdemona during almost the whole play, but he makes her do thinks that benefits his plan. For example, he makes her steal Desdemona’s handkerchief, which ended being the “icing on the cake” for Othello’s suspiciousness on Desdemona’s and Cassio’s love affair.
Everyone likes and trusts Iago, and so do Desdemona. Iago is seen as an honest man, which helps him manipulate people, because they always believe him. Iago manipulates Desdemona by acting on her side and by sympathizing with her. When Othello starts to get very suspicious, he gets very angry at Desdemona, but he refuses to tell her why. Iago convinces her that Othello is angry on a letter he got earlier and not on her. Desdemona believes this lie, which probably stops her from questioning Othello’s behavior.
Iago’s plan is to make Othello think that Desdemona and Cassio are having an