Last Updated 14 Sep 2020

Iago Literary Essay

Category Essay Examples, Iago
Essay type Research
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Iago the Master of Manipulation Throughout the play Othello by William Shakespeare, Iago the antagonist develops a scheme to ruin Othello’s life, just because he didn’t get the position of lieutenant and uses people from Roderigo to Cassio to unfold his plans. Now, how can this villainous man manipulate people around him so well? Iago effectively manipulates Roderigo, Cassio and Othello by using Roderigo’s love for Desdemona, by implying to Cassio that he’s helping him for his interests when it’s actually the opposite, and by acting as an “honest” person in front of Othello to hide his true foul personality. SparkNoted Editors).

Iago uses Roderigo’s “obsessive” love for Desdemona to manipulate him to help him and assures Roderigo he will help him attain Desdemona. (The Polymath). He then tries to comfort Roderigo when he finds out Desdemona is married to Othello by using the metaphor, “Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners. ” (I. iii. 319-320). Here Iago reacts to Roderigo wanting to commit suicide by telling him to take care of himself, and instead to try to win Desdemona with his money; but actually uses his money for his own plans and makes fun of him for being so naive. Thus do I make my fool my purse. ” (I. iii. 315) and all this time poor Roderigo has been tricked by Iago from the beginning of the play to the end because Roderigo wanted Desdemona to such an extent. Iago tricked Cassio into thinking he was helping him for his benefit when all along it was only a part of Iago’s plan to ruin the bond between Othello and Desdemona. Iago himself caused trouble for Cassio and that leads to Cassio’s lieutenant position revoked, only to tell him to get help from Desdemona.

Our Generals wife is now the General/Confess yourself freely to her. Importune her help to put you in your place again. ” (II. iii. 293-298). Iago has many Aside’s in the play telling the audience of his plans. By making Cassio talk with Desdemona Iago plants suspicion into Othello to ruin his peace of mind. “Yet that I put the Moor at least into a jealousy so strong that judgement cannot cure/I’ll have our Micheal Cassio on the hip, abuse him to the Moor in the rank garb. ” As Iago does this in several ccasions it’s all for his own benefit, “Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me for making him egregiously an ass and practising upon his peace and quiet even to madness. ”(II. i. 294-305). Iago successfully ends a part of his plan by killing two birds with one stone, Roderigo and Cassio. “Now whether he kill Cassio, or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, every way makes my game. ” (V. i. 12-14). Hence, Iago manipulates Cassio by implying he is helping him when it’s the opposite. To manipulate Othello, Iago acts as an honest and good person in front of Othello to hide his foul personality.

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Throughout the play, you hear Iago saying, “I hate the Moor” (I. iii. 361). He even tells Roderigo all his schemes. Through a Paradox Shakespeare reveals Iago’s true intentions. “In following him, I follow but myself. ” (I. i. 58). again Iago only stays with Ohtello for his own benefit and he says his outward appearance is only to fool Othello so he doesn’t lose trust in Iago, “I am not what I am. ”(I. i. 65); but interactions between Roderigo and Iago reveals a “streak of cowardice” in Iago as he tries so hard to hide his bad intentions from Othello he even kills own wife. SparkNotes Editors).

Therefore Iago manipulates Othello by acting as an honest and good man to hide his true-foul personality. Iago, possibly the most “heinous villain” in Shakespeare lets his anger and jealousy overpower him and ruin Othello’s life with his manipulative skills. (SparkNotes Editors). Iago effectively manipulates Rodrigo by using his love for Desdemona, by implying to Cassio he’s helping him for his interests when its actually the opposite and by acting as an honest and good person in front of Othello to hide his true-foul personality.

Work Cited

  • The Polymath. Iago’s Manipulation on Roderigo in Othello. Yahoo! Voices. (2010): n. page. Web. 8 Jun. 2012. <http://voices. Yahoo. com/iagos-manipulation-roderigo-othello-5481393. html>.
  • SparkNotes Editors. SparkNotes on Othello. SparkNotes. com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 8 Jun. 2012.
  • Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice. Massachusetts: Blaisdell Publishing Company, 1966. Print.

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Iago Literary Essay. (2017, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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