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Othello Essay, Research Paper

A villain is a character who uses his good name, rank, or the trust that people have for him

to get what he wants at any cost. He usually manipulates everyone, and death usually

come to the villain. He is well liked by every character, which allows him to pull off his

tricks so well and easily. He uses his friendship with Othello to get what he wants, which

is the rank of lieutenant. Iago somehow finds his way into nearly every character s life

and some of those characters end up dead. Throughout the course of the play, he

manipulates the mind of Roderigo, making him believe that Desdemona actually has

feelings for him, causing Roderigo to carry out harsh actions which, under normal

circumstances, he would never consider. Iago also gets in Othello s head and puts in the

thought of Desdemona being unfaithful with Cassio. There are many more examples of

Iago s villainy throughout the play.

Iago s main goal throughout the play is to somehow obtain the rank of lieutenant,

which he feels should have been given to him instead of his friend Cassio. He begins by

telling Roderigo that Desdemona, at some point, had feelings for him, that is, before she

married Othello. Roderigo is heartbroken, and Iago sees his opportunity begin to open

up. Iago tells Roderigo to defeat thy favor with an usurped beard (1.3. 328-329) and

then return to Venice later because Desdemona will have lost her love for Othello. This

excites Roderigo, so he believes Iago since they are good friends. Iago is now just setting

up Roderigo for another part of his plan that will take place later in the story. Roderigo

does not realize how deeply involved Desdemona and Othello are, so he still believes he

has a chance to have Desdemona, if she ever really does tire of Othello.

Iago and Othello are very close in their friendship, even though Othello chose Cassio over

Iago as his lieutenant. Othello believes almost anything Iago tells him because iago has a

reputation of always telling the truth. That is why Othello actually begins to believe in this

story that his wife has not been faithful to him. Iago gets Emilia, his wife and also

attendant to Desdemona, to pick up a handkerchief that has been passed down from

generation to generation in Othello s family. It represents the love that the husband shows

for his wife, and it means a great deal to Othello. When Iago says that he has seen Cassio

wipe his beard with that handkerchief, Othello makes his mind up that his wife has cheated

on him. But what really sets Othello off is when he sees Cassio carrying the handkerchief

around. Iago says do it not with poison, strangle her in bed, even the bed she hath

contaminated (4.1. 190-191) when telling Othello that he should kill Desdemona for what

she has done. Iago now knows his plan is working since Othello is actually considering

killing his wife.

One evening, Iago gets Cassio drunk before he is to guard the castle. Cassio tells

Iago that I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking. I could well wish courtesy

would invent some other custom of entertainment (2.3. 27-29) because he knows he cant

drink a lot or he will get angry and violent. But this is what Iago wants so he pushed him

to drink more and Cassio does. Soon a fight breaks out and gets out of hand then Othello

enters. When honest Iago tells Othello what happened, Othello has no choice but to

strip Cassio of his ranking and give it to Iago. When Iago is appointed lieutenant, he

spends even more time with the Moor and becomes a better friend to both Othello and

Desdemona. Othello asks Iago how shall I murder him (4.1. 158). Saying that he wants

Cassio killed one night, the same night Othello is to kill Desdemona.

This is the chance Iago has to take care of both Roderigo and Cassio, so he has it

set up to where they have a fight in the dark streets. Iago runs out of the shadows and

attacks Cassio from behind without anyone seeing it, but Roderigo is struck with a fatal

blow that kills him later. The plan between Othello and Iago was supposed to have Cassio

dead before Desdemona, but Othello smothered her before he received news that Cassio

was still alive. This is the end of Iago s villainy. When Cassio and Othello meet, everyone

is made aware of Iago s plot and Othello ends up killing himself and falling by his wife side

but tells Cassio not to have Iago killed so he can live with the burden on his chest the rest

of his life.

The villainy of Iago showed was great in the sense that he had an elaborate plan,

using every character in the story and manipulating their minds to the point where

everyone was believing lies. He did all of this so that he could get what he wanted.

However, he failed to carry out one action as he had planned and that ruined his life

forever. The villainy of Iago did cause a lot of despair and cost many characters their

lives, but that is what a villain is. Villains do not care who they hurt or how they get there

way, just as long as is happens and they are happy.

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