Michael Cassio from Othello
Michael Cassio is Othello’s lieutenant and is trusted by Othello for his safety. More than a lieutenant, Othello regarded him as his friend. Cassio was the person who approved of Othello and Desdemona’s marriage when no one supported their love. He was the only person trusted by Othello to convey his messages to Desdemona and vice versa. Moreover, he was a faithful, reliable and capable lieutenant. Michael Cassio was the hinge on which the play turns, because he falls prey to Iago’s jealousy, is manipulated from a protagonist to an antagonist and planted as a seed of skepticism in Othello’s love life resulting in pain, sorrow and death in Othello’s life. But ultimately survives. Cassio is Othello’s lieutenant, second-in-command. Cassio is highly educated but young and inexperienced in battle. Michael Cassio is an important person, in the whole situation. He is linked directly to most of the characters in the story. He is trusted by Othello for his faithfulness and equally trusted by Othello’s better half, Desdemona, as well. Cassio is truly a sincere and innocent man. Cassio is a little too much of a lady's man as shown by his flirtatious charisma. Cassio is the kind of guy who likes to put women in one of two categories – virgin or whore. When he talks about Desdemona, we can tell that he sees her as a kind of secular Virgin Mary. Here is what he says when Desdemona arrives in Cyprus: O behold […] You men of Cyprus, let her have your knees,
Hail to thee lady! And the grace of heaven,
Before, behind thee, and on every hand,
Enwheel thee round. (Shakespeare, William: Act2, Scene1.Page8)
Cassio worships Desdemona, but he has a tendency to mock his girlfriend, Bianca, who sadly, is pretty smitten with Cassio. As Iago points out, "when Cassio hears of Bianca, he cannot refrain from the excess of laughter.” "Now I’ll ask Cassio about Bianca,
a prostitute who sells her body for food and clothes.
She’s crazy about Cassio.
That’s the whore’s curse, to seduce many men, but to be seduced by one. Whenever he talks about her he can’t stop laughing (4.1.19).
This shows he had not much experience with the women in his life. Cassio is well educated whereas, Iago is a military veteran from Venice, who does his best at trying to manipulate Cassio. Iago is the villain of the play. Although he is obsessive, relentless, bold and ingenious in his efforts to manipulate and deceive others. Iago’s motivations are notoriously murky. At various points in the play, he claims to be motivated by different things, such as the rumors that Othello slept with his wife, Emilia; and the suspicion that Cassio slept with his wife too. Finally, Iago resented the fact that Othello passed him over for a promotion in favor of Michael Cassio. Iago gives the impression that he is tossing out plausible motivations as he thinks of them, and the final straw was pulled by promoting Cassio over Iago that really drives him to villainy. Finally, he decides to bring down the great Othello. He tried fulfilling his revenge by pulling in Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, by telling him about Othello and Desdemona, but ultimately failed. Iago, realizing the fact that he can use Cassio, who is the perfect dupe for him. He would remove Cassio from his way, punish Desdemona and finally bring down Othello. Iago clearly knows Cassio is not an experienced lieutenant. According to Iago, Cassio is "a great arithmetician, one that never set a squadron in the field" (1.1.1). Cassio knows battle only from books, unlike Iago who understood tactics and use them against Cassio. When Iago tries to get Cassio to have a drink in celebration of the Turks' defeat and Othello's marriage, Cassio says, "I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking" (2.3.3). After knowing Cassio’s low capacity for alcohol, Iago gets him drunk, and that finally results in a fight, planned by Iago, between Cassio and Montano that was initiated by Rodrigo. This...
Bibliography: Shakespeare, William. Othello. New York: Washington Square, Aug 2004. Press.
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