Modern Media and Literature: Iago vs. Ingrid
Robert South, an English poet once said "All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things."(1) The art of being skilled in rhetoric can either be a positive or negative gift. However, when jealousy and vengeance intermix with the skill, its effects can become detrimental. The effects will begin to take a psychological and emotional toll on a person, as it advances. Manipulation and deception can branch from this skill, and potentially lead a person to their greatest downfall. In the movie White Oleander, Ingrid, who is played by Michelle Pfeiffer, exhibits constant manipulation and deception in Astrid's life. This leads Astrid with facing many tribulations before she can come to terms with the person she really wants to become. Likewise, In William Shakespeare's Othello, the protagonist Iago displays mastery in the techniques of manipulation, and deception, which thus enables him to lead Othello toward his tragic downfall
Although, Shakespeare does not give physical characteristics concerning Iago, he does provide deep insight concerning his cynical character and lack of integrity. When Othello, general of the Venetian army selects Cassio to become his lieutenant it begins to set the tone for Iago's jealousy, and vengeance against Othello. Iago felt that he deserved
the promotion in rank and is outraged that it is given to the much younger and inexperienced Cassio. The second reason, which finishes facilitating the tone of jealousy and vengeance is the fact that Iago believes that Othello has slept with his wife. In Act I, Scene I, Iago tells Brabanzio about Desdemona having relations with Othello. Brarbanzio takes Iago very seriously and runs to find compile a team to search for Desdemona. By Iago seeing his rhetoric skills prevail it sets the tone for more cynical accusations to be thought of. Consequently, with his new found motivation, Iago's manipulative and deceptive abilities begin to flourish. As Iago's deceptive and manipulative abilities flourish we are better able to perceive the unique qualities that allow him to obtain his goals. He is amoral, and finds amusement in the pain and damage that he causes. Iago is intelligent because he is able to corrupt people's thoughts, by cultivating ideas without directly involving himself. He is a great fabricator, by making people believe his lies he strategically places them into his plan, in such a way that everything ties into one another. The situations that he creates are often far from what they actually appear to be. For example, in Act IV, Scene I, Iago places Othello in hiding while he speaks to Cassio. From Othello's standing point it seems as if he can hear Cassio speaking about Desdemona's love for him In reality Cassio was speaking about his girlfriend Bianca. Bianca shortly enters and throws the handkerchief that belongs to Desdemona at Cassio. In seeing this Iago's plan works and Othello is convinced by his wife's unfaithfulness. Iago has the ability to be nimble and is for the most part one step ahead of his plan at all times. He is also a bit of a business man, and is able to embezzle money and jewels Ortiz 3
from Roderigo. He manages to convince Roderigo to sell his estate and his possessions in order to help win over Desdemona's heart. Subsequently, this allows him to make a large profit along the way to achieving his final goal. Iago thrives off of people's weaknesses; many times he seizes the opportunity of Othello being sick, having convulsions, or being depressed to suggest Desdemona's unfaithfulness. Othello is so vulnerable at the moment that he becomes open to Iago's implications. At first Othello, is apprehensive of these allegations, but as time passes Othello falls right into Iago's trap and is deceived. Later on he kills Desdemona, and Iago's wife tells Othello...
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