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The Terrible Iago

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The Terrible Iago
In Shakespeare’s play Othello, Iago achieves great power through his ability to manipulate others,

reveals that people have become more trusting of each other. Iago uses his ability to

manipulate people in order to get Othello to believe in what he is saying. Since Iago is

the character in which Othello trusts the most, Iago must convince him that he is in fact

worthy and trusting. Using honesty, loyalty, and Rodrigo’s love for Desdemona Iago is able

to manipulate everybody.

When comparing honesty and dishonesty Iago and Desdemona are the two of

the characters that show it most. Iago manages to create scenes within scenes. He sets up

encounters between two characters and putting a third person in the position of a spectator. For

instance, he has Othello watch Cassio and Desdemona speak, and he has Othello watch him

speak with Cassio about his wife. In each case, Iago manipulates

Othello so that Othello sees the scene that Iago wishes him to see, rather than the

reality of what is actually happening. In this way, Iago has becomes a kind of

“director”—manipulating people as he pleases. Desdemona unlike Iago is a very honest

person. She is always honest with Othello down to the last moments of her life.

Desdemona seems dishonest due to Othello’s high opinion of Iago. Every time Iago

brought something up such as the handkerchief and Desdemona tells the truth Othello

chooses not to believe her and believes Iago. This decision has great consequences

because based off this Othello decides to kill his wife.

Loyalty plays a big role in Othello; it affects all the major decisions in the book.

One character that appears loyal but is disloyal is Iago. Iago pretends to be loyal to

Othello but he is really only loyal to himself. Besides Othello, he also manages to make

others believe in him. By acting loyal to Rodrigo he is able to make Rodrigo do his

bidding while remaining hidden from most

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