The major themes present in Othello are Jealously, Betrayal and Appearance vs. Reality. Each one of these themes are reinforced throughout the play in Iago’s evil plot. They are represented or seen by Othello, Iago and Cassio and the relationship between them; dictating the motion of the play.
Othello is the main character of the play. He is a moorish general and head of the army of venice. He is a warrior, honest, and loves his new wife Desdemona very much. His only mistake is trusting his ensign, Iago too much and allowing Iago to come between his marriage. Iago makes Othello believe that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him.
Iago is Othello’s ensign, and the main villain of the play. He hoped to be promoted to the position of lieutament, but Othello chose Cassio over him. To get revenge, he brings forth a plot to convince Othello that Cassio and Desdemona, are having an affair. Iago is truly evil, and cares only about himself.
Cassio is Othello’s lieutanent who was chosen over the veteran soldier, Iago, for the position. Cassio is a young and handsome Florentine and is very polite with the ladies. By getting drunk and hurting Montano, Governor of Cyprus, he gets discharged from being Othello’s lieutanent.
The relationship between Othello and Iago is not sincere as Iago makes Othello and everyone else believe. Iago fools everyone into believing that he is an honorable man and loyal friend so that he can get punish Othello for not promoting him to lieutenant. No one ever suspects him of wrongdoing until the end of the play. By the first scene …
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…ssio is like a triangle where even though they are three different characters, they are connected in a way. Othello who has so much power as the general and head of the army, has a weakness in trusting people by their appearance. One of these persons is his ensign Iago, whose reputation is that of an “honest man”, but inside he is an evil person. His envy towards Othello drives him on deceiving him and Cassio into believing his supposed loyalty. Iago betrays him by plotting against him using Cassio who is manipulated and innocent of his evilness. Cassio’s only interest is getting the position as Othello’s lieutanent and by this he gets used by Iago, who disliked him from the beginning because that was the position he wanted to receive. By bringing Cassio in, we close the triangle understanding how the relationship between them dictate the motion of the play.
Spinning a Treacherous Web in Shakespeare’s Othello
Spinning a Treacherous Web in Othello
Like every Shakespearean tragedy there is often an untimely doom that ends the life of the “hero” or main character of the play. The main character’s doom only becomes the outcome when they are unable to better the wrongs they or others had committed. However, in this Shakespearean tragedy the person who drives the participants of this play to their doom, isn’t the main character Othello, but Iago, the motiveless character whose jealousy and rage drives him to commit crimes towards the people who believed him and considered him a trusting friend.
Iago understood human characteristics, which allowed him to get to the root of people’s problems. In Othello he saw innocence, and love; in Desdemona he saw purity and kindness; and in Cassio he saw a perfectionist. Iago lacked all of these features and so in order to end the happiness of all the characters, he decided to hit them where it hurt the most. In doing so he used Desdemona as a tool, because she was the object of everyone’s desire. Iago is a spider-like creature who in order to quench his hunger, entangles all of these characters into his skillfully crafted web that slowly and unknowingly drives them to their doom.
To better understand Iago’s effect on these different characters, it is important to look in to his own character. Iago’s motives are not clear, however, it is true that he despises Othello, and that he is jealous of the fact that Michael Cassio had taken over the role of lieutenant; a role that Iago wanted very badly. It is in the beginning of the play that Iago confesses to follow Othello but not be loyal to him,
I follow him to serve my turn upon him…
Were I the Moor I would not be Iago.
In following him, I follow but myself-
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end.
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ‘tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am. (1.1 43-67)
Iago is without any apparent feelings or remorse towards any of the other characters.