Many people have jealousy and hatred. They can come and go from person to person, sometimes causing many problems. For example, a student in high school could be jealous of another student. That student could have a new car that they wanted. High school students tend to be over dramatic sometimes. So the student that is jealous and/or mad, could make the other student mad or hurt them in some way. In the play Othello, the author, Shakespeare, tried to show the audience just how much jealousy and hatred can be contagious. The main character, Othello, is an older and wiser African American general in the Army. He married a very young, innocent, and naïve woman named Desdemona. Othello has just named Michael Cassio his lieutenant, Iago, a long time military veteran, was jealous that Cassio got the position he so badly wanted, and he hated Othello for not choosing him. Iago’s “friend,” Roderigo, was jealous of Othello and Desdemona’s marriage because he was in love with Desdemona. Together, Iago and Roderigo schemed each other and everyone around them to get their way to what they wanted the most. In the end, neither of them got what they wanted. Iago was thrown in jail, and Desdemona, Othello, and Roderigo were dead. Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses poison and sickness imagery to show how Iago infests others with his hatred and jealousy.
Shakespeare tried to show this imagery through Iago’s hatred for Othello and Cassio. One example of this would be when Iago said, “Now my sick fool Roderigo,/Whom love hath turned almost the wrong side out,/To Desdemona hath tonight caroused/Potations pottle-deep, and he’s to watch./Three lads of Cyprus,noble swelling spirits/(That hold their honors in a wary distance,/The very elements of this warlike isle)/Have I tonight flustered with flowing cups/And they watch too./Now ‘mongst this flock of drunkards/Am I to put our Cassio in some action/That may offend the isle” (2.3.52-56). In this quote, Iago is talking to himself about how he’s gotten everyone on guard duty drunk except Cassio. He wants to find a way to get Cassio drunk and do something that will make the guards and Cassio fight. Then, he wanted Othello to know about it because Cassio, being of such high authority in Othello’s army, will be demoted because of his irrational behavior. This would help Iago to become the new lieutenant, just like he wanted to begin with. This quote shows Iago’s hatred and jealousy for Cassio’s position in Othello’s army. Shakespeare uses foreshadowing in this quote to let the audience know what his plan is, and how he sees it playing out, hoping it’ll go the way he would like it to go. Iago had to plan ahead, to make things turn out they way he wanted them to, and to make sure Othello and Cassio payed for his hatred and jealous of them.
Another example of Iago’s hatred and jealousy was shown when Iago and Roderigo were going to tell Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, about Othello and Desdemona’s marriage to each other and try to make it seen like it was against Desdemona’s will. Iago stated to Roderigo, “Rouse him. Make after him, Poison his delight,/Proclaim him in the streets. Incense her kinsmen,/And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,/Plague him with flies. Though that his joy be joy/Yet throw such changes of vexation on’t./As it may lose some color” (1.3.74-82). In this quote, Iago is saying that Roderigo and himself should wake up Desdemona’s father and spoil his happiness. He wants Brabantio to hate Othello too. Iago is jealous and hates Othello, so now he wants everyone to feel the same way he does so that Othello can suffer. Through using poisons such as “vexations,” Iago can make his point to the audience that he would go to extremes when he’s jealous. Using the literary device personification, Shakespeare proves Iago’s hatred for Othello through Desdemona’s father. He compares poison with brabantio’s delight. By sharing his hatred with Brabantio, Iago would be able to have help with getting the things he wants without having very much blame put on himself.
Igoa showed his hatred and jealousy through his conversations with other characters throughout the play. When Iago was talking to Othello about Cassio, Iago said, “I do beseech you,/Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,/As, I confess, it is my nature’s plague/To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy” (3.3.149-152). In this quote, Iago is telling Othello that he doesn’t want to tell him about the fight that happened with Cassio because he tends to be a very jealous person, and he doesn’t want to get Cassio into any trouble and have it blamed on him. Then, Iago proceeds to tell Othello parts of what happened to get Cassio in trouble without Othello knowing he’s planned everything to happen on purpose, and without him actually saying what happened. Iago dropped hints to Othello and let him think about what he thought had happened, claiming he has a bad tendency to be suspicious of other people when there’s nothing to be suspicious of. Throughout the play, Iago continues to prove this. With the help of personification again, Shakespeare compares Iago’s nature to a sickness. He’s saying that he’s got a bad personality and is a bad person in general to be around. This is in fact a true statement that the characters in the play realize, but by then, it’s too late.
In the end, Iago’s actions could be justified through the sickness and poison imagery that Shakespeare uses to show the audience his hatred and jealousy for Othello, Desdemona, and Cassio. By Iago’s actions of setting up Cassio to fail in front of Othello, gaining Brabantio’s trust to hate Othello, and gaining Othello’s trust to allow him to lead Othello to his downfall, Iago was shown to be a villian,a nd a very jealous and self-centered person who believed his hatred and jealousy needed to be revenged. Just like the the high school student who is jealous of another students new car, Iago wanted revenge to get back for what he wanted, but didn’t have.