“ Is Iago purely evil, or is Othello incredibly gullible? How does such a strong (or gullible) man become trapped in such plotting?”
Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragic play written at around 1603 by William Shakespeare, which addresses the encounters of Othello, the protagonist. Othello is a Venetian military general and who falls prey of Iago’s devious schemes, which are triggered by jealousy, deceit and quest for power (Hundley 4).
Shakespeare’s Iago is amoral character who drafts devious plans to lure others into his vengeance mission. Equivocally, I ago is a significant character who participates greatly in Othello’s misfortune. He is also accountable for Emilia, Roderigo and protagonist deaths. He contributes to plot development in the play in that he relates to other characters significantly.
His most important role is to accomplish the tragedy of Othello, which brings out the themes of hatred, envy and vengeance. In addition, he distinguishes Othello’s character and that of Desdemona to expose dramatic irony for the audience to be occupied (Kolin 8).
Is Iago purely evil? Yes. His inherent evilness is seen when Iago makes friends to hate each other by taking advantage of their trust toward him. To attain his mission, he uses their worries and anxieties to “ make the net that shall emesh them all” (Shakespeare II. iii. 321-2). His evil motives are mostly a soliloquy that are never attained and becomes forgotten entirely. His scheme is initiated when he desires Cassio’s position of lieutenancy, which he wanted to be his.
He is envious of him and claims that he deserves and will fit into that position. Therefore, he plots a scheme to deceive, rob and eventually kill Cassio to fit in his lieutenant position. He aspires to replace Cassio’s work as a lieutenant by taking advantage of Desdemona’s naivety. He dishonors Cassio by inciting him to finish Roderigo and free him the lieutenant position when he states that “ Cassio, I love thee, But nevermore be officer of mine” (Shakespeare II. iii. 242-244). As a result Cassio was become unaware of the outcome.
Iago’s devious plans persist when he tactfully makes Othello to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him with Cassio even without any evidence to show for it. Iago accomplishes this mission by ensuring that Othello’s thoughts concentrates on the fact that he is being cheated on, an aspect that leads to his tragedy.
Othello instead fall into his scheme and his furry makes him hate his wife whom she doesn’t believe. Significantly, Iago awards Othello with the evil thought that he could kill his wife Desdemona, which will accomplish Iago’s vengeance mission (Hankey 5).
His devious plan is manifested when he claims that Iago had had an affair with Emilia, Iago’s life. To ascertain this fact, Othello points out that “ And it is thought abroad that t’wixt my sheets/ He’s done my office” I know not if’t be true/ But I, for mere suspicion in that kind; / Will do as if for surety”(Shakespeare I. iii. 381-385). Iago’s paranoia is tremendous to an extent that his insanity is portrayed when he deludes Othello to kill his own wife.
As if that is not enough, Iago robs his friend Roderigo. He uses the funds awarded to him by Roderigo to entice Desdemona. On noticing that Iago kept the money for himself, Roderigo makes threats to Iago and becomes furious about his actions. Unexpectedly, when Roderigo is informed of the scheme to entice Desdemona, his mind is eroded to forget about the money and instead, kill Cassio, whom Iago is envious of and is supposedly having an affair with Desdemona (Hankey 8).
These instances show that Iago has no conscious and therefore amoral, as depicted through his actions. He is deceptive to his wife and friends, which emphasize his evilness. He is tactful in carrying out his schemes, which however portrays his diabolical capability allowing him to erode his friends and his fife’s thoughts.
His intellectual ability is astonishing to the reader since he achieves and gets away with his devious schemes. He is able to win over other’s thoughts by targeting their desires through twisting, playing and eventually brainwashing their psychological power. These instances clearly portray Iago as having no conscience therefore, purely evil (Hundley 5).
Is Othello incredibly gullible? Yes. Othello on the other hand is a gullible character unlike Iago, who falls into the trap of Iago and falls into prey of his evil tactics. Othello’s character is dynamic having been a villain in the beginning and.
His jealousness is exposed after Iago deceives him to become vengeful and kill his wife. Othello angrily point out that “`Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her, damn her! Come go with me part. I will withdraw To furnish me with some swift means of death. For the fair devil. Now are the my lieutenant’” (Shakespeare I. iii. 122).
This susceptibility and jealousness causes his tragedy. Othello’s weaknesses is exposed by the allegedly wife’s infidelity which he takes as being unclean and disgusting. This is because he observes sex as a unifying force which bloats his paranoia. Iago’s quest to become powerful is manifest as he pursues to destroy Othello who is a Venetian military general since he is envious of his status. Iago in disbelieve wonders how easy it is to brainwash Othello and even appreciates how easy it was to do so (Kolin 203).
How does such a strong (or gullible) man become trapped in such plotting? To start with, Othello falls short of knowledge on brewing power and is therefore doomed to fail. He is in the military as a general and therefore has authority over war such as the Turkish fleet, an aspect which should be reflected in his life but fails to (Vaughan 35).
Othello’s faults indicate that his tragic end is justifiable although he did not deserve it. Being a ‘ god of war’ he should have done better than having his several flaws dictates his tragic end. By doing this Shakespeare achieves the reader’s sympathy towards the protagonist.
In addition, Othello lives in his own world since he has distinct race and culture since he is not conversant with traditions in Venetian women and even marries Desdemona irrespective of her father’s disapproval. Besides, He takes women as being holy or as being filthy based on their degree of fidelity. His naivety is reflected as he does not believe his wife since he has witnessed her deceive her father before, a deception that she allegedly transfers to the matrimonial bed.
Moreover, Othello has immature communication skills leave alone his expression of personal thoughts, aspects which exaggerate his inadequacy. He says to Brabantio and Duke that “ Rude am I in my speech and little blessed with the soft phrase of peace (Shakespeare 1. ll. 81-82)….. And little of this great world can I speak, More than pertains to feats of broil and battle (Shakespeare 1. ll. 86-87).
He uses violence instead of persuasion when addressing women and murders his wife for a single unproved reason of infidelity. This indicate Othello is unable to multitask and has no flexibility of reason as he trusts Iago, since he has proven to be sincere and friendly as well as being loyal to Emilia His wife.
He does not conduct introspection to evaluate his inner self but believes Iago’s incitement and insinuations blindly, becomes emotional, which leads to his irrational thinking. His gullibility ignites jealous which overwhelms him and controls his actions. Eventually, Iago accomplishes his evil schemes of destroying Othello and his wife who were deeply in love.
In conclusion, Othello’s imperfections justifies his tragic end an aspect that Shakespeare implants in the reader to depict that Othello and his like are not the best people to lead the world due to their inherent imperfections. Although he defends the residents of Venice in war, through his victories and abilities, he emerges a tragic hero since he lacks a sound reason and falls into Iago’s plot. This guilt haunts him and ultimately drives him to commit suicide as he sees it as a means of sacrifice to pay for the death of his beloved wife.
Iago’s quest for power, vengeance is accelerated by jealousy and this does not benefit him in any way. As a result, Intellectual power is necessary to enable one to have a rational and an independent thought before carrying out an action. Othello’s predicament awards sympathy to the reader, which appears more real than fiction (Vaughan 5). Therefore, Iago is purely evil while Othello incredibly gullible since he falls prey of Iago’s devious plot.
Hankey, Julie. Othello. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2005. Print.
Hundley, Sterling. Othello. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. 2005. Print.
Kolin, Phillip. Othello: New Critical Essays. New York: Routledge. 2002. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Othello: By William Shakespeare. New York: MobileReference. 2008. Print.
Vaughan, Virginia. Othello: A Contextual History. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1996. Print.