Reputation in Othello
Reputation is the general way in which people perceive you to be based off of facts and opinions. Your reputation defines you as a member of society, and it can be used towards your benefit depending on if your reputation is good or bad. A good reputation often enables one to gain trust and respect from others, while a bad reputation may lead one to be considered as a treacherous and disloyal individual. Reputation plays an important role in Othello, as Iago uses his own reputation as well as the reputation of others to manipulate people throughout the play only to benefit himself.
Iago has what one might describe as a good reputation. He is well respected and considered an honest man, and Othello relies on him when it comes to determining the truth in a specific situation between Montano, Cassio, and Roderigo: “Honest Iago, that looks dead with grieving, /Speak, who began this? On thy love, I charge thee” (Othello.2.3.140-141). Iago uses his reputation to trick people into thinking he is an honest man, thus gaining their trust. Once he gains their trust, he tricks them into believing false rumors in which he made up himself as a part of his plan to bring down Cassio and become Second in command. First, Iago persuades Cassio to have a few drinks with him and two Cyprus gentlemen. Soon enough, Cassio gets drunk and gets into a fight. This leads to Cassio losing his position as Lieutenant. Cassio believes that his reputation is completely destroyed, as well as his chances of ever getting his position back, but Iago convinces him otherwise: “A reputation is a useless and fake quality that others impose on us. You haven’t lost it unless you think you have. There are lots of ways to get on the general’s good side again” (2.3.212-216). Iago then tells Cassio that in order to get his job back, he must speak with Desdemona and ask her to help him regain his position. By doing this, Iago cunningly convinces Othello, being the well trusted man...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed.Daniel Vitkus. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2007. Print
Sparknotes. No Fear Shakespeare. SNLLC, 2012. Web. 18 Feb. 2012.
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