April 6, 2013
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
In the play, Othello by William Shakespeare, one of the main characters Iago is a master of both deception and manipulation. One will see throughout the play how Iago manipulates people, even the mighty black war general, Othello. Desdemona, (I.iii.395) “Put money in thy purse.” Iago says Desdemona will soon lose interest in the Moor, (I.iii.384-387) “It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love to the Moor First, Iago betrays the wealthy Roderigo by taking advantage of his wealth and love for Desdemona. Iago tells Roderigo that he will deliver Roderigo’s jewels to e Moor – put money in thy purse – nor his to her.” Instead of giving the jewels to Desdemona Iago pockets them for his own selfish profit, (IV.ii.216 – 222) “With naught but truth. I have wasted myself out of my means. The jewels you have had from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a votaress. You have told she hath received them, and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I find none.
Second, Iago even betrays his own wife, Emilia! Iago asks Emilia quite frequently to steal Desdemona’s handkerchief that was Othello’s first token to Desdemona because Iago knew Emilia was Desdemona’s servant, (III.iii. 334 – 339) “I am glad I have found this napkin. This was her first remembrance of the Moor. My wayward husband hath a hundred times Wooed me to steal it. But she loves the token (For he conjured her she should ever keep it.) That she reserves it evermore about her To kiss and talk to. I’ll have the work ta’en out And give it to Iago. What he will do with it Heaven Knows not I. I nothing but to please his fantasy.” Even though Emilia did what Iago asked of her at the end of the play when Emilia started to put two and two together and figured out that Iago got Othello to ponder the idea of Desdemona’s faithfulness, Iago quickly jumps at Emilia and stabs her (VI.ii.264) “Be wise and get you home” and then Iago draws his sword.
Third, Iago betrays the almighty black war general, Othello. Iago brings up the idea of Desdemona’s infidelity, (III.iii.224 – 236) “I am glad of this, for now I shall have reason to show the love and duty that I bear you with franker spirit therefore, as I am bound, receive it from me. I speak not yet of proof. Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio; wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure. I would not have your free and noble nature, out of self – bounty, be abused. Look to ‘t. I know our country disposition well. In Venice they do not let God see the pranks they dare not show their husbands. Their best conscience is not to leave but keep ’t unknown.” Throughout the play Iago tries to make the thought that Desdemona is cheating on Othello with Cassio in Othello’s mind. Othello gets so mad that he has been mad a cuckold and calls Desdemona a strumpet, (IV.ii.141 -142) “He called her “whore.” A beggar in his drink Could not have laid such terms upon his callet.” Iago has forced so many thoughts into Othello’s head that he couldn’t bear it any longer and snapped and killed Desdemona, (VI.ii.30 – 32) “Well do it brief. I will walk by. I would not kill thy unprepared spirit. No, heaven forfend! I would not kill thy soul.