The play Othello by William Shakespeare unfolds a story of love, jealousy, and deception. The antagonist Iago is angry at Othello for giving lieutenancy to Michael Cassio. Roderigo, a friend of Iago’s, is devastated because Othello has recently married Desdemona, a former lover of Roderigo. This leaves Roderigo and Iago both furious at Othello and seeking revenge. They leave to expose Othello and Desdemona’s marriage to Desdemona’s father. He is enraged and feels betrayed by his daughter for marrying a black man. Iago flees leaving Roderigo and Brabantio (Desdemona’s father) to find Othello. In William Shakespeare’s Othello love, jealousy, and deception are all attributes of this play.
In scene one, act one of Othello, William Shakespeare portrays how the power of revenge can cause people to deceive and use the competence of gender to empower themselves. Shakespeare correctly portrays this element in the character Iago because of how Iago betrays his friend, Othello, and also uses a his wife as a tool to get what he wants.
William Shakespeare’s Othello correctly portrays that when in the pursuit of revenge it is easy to take on multiple personalities to get what you want.
Supporting ideas to prove main ideas:
Iago is being friendly to Roderigo, but he is tricking him into going to Brabantio and exposing Othello’s marriage. Even easy in the play the reader or audience can already tell that Iago is a cunning, manipulative human being who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
Both Iago and Roderigo are jealous of Othello and this leads them to seek revenge and betray their friend.
While talking to Roderigo about Othello and how, by following him he is getting revenge Iago says, “I am not what I am” (Shakespeare 1.1. 70-75).
Explanation of quotation:
This is the first obvious reveal of Iago’s personality. By saying this Iago is telling Roderigo that whoever you think I am, I’m not. There is no deeper level of deception than this. Shakespeare is setting up Iago to have a different personality for each character and with each level of trickery Iago grows closer to revenge.
However, deception is not only for self centered reasons. Many times in real life people lie for their friends and do what they can to help them.
Set-up: Iago is not only being deceptive for himself. He is also looking to help Roderigo get revenge on Othello. Of course this isn’t his first priority, but Iago is thinking of his friend and doesn't want Roderigo to have a broken heart in vain.
Iago is speaking to Roderigo on how to get revenge on Othello when he says, “Rouse him. Make after him, poison his delight...” (Shakespeare 1.1. 75-80).
Iago is doing this so that Brabantio gets angry at Othello. Although Iago is doing this mainly for himself, he is helping Roderigo get revenge on Othello as well.
A common view is that people who live lives of deception and trickery have some reason behind it that isn’t completely self centered or selfish. One cannot deny that this is sometimes the situation. However in Iago’s case, like many others; people who are willing to undergo that level of deception are usually doing it for their own personal gain.
The mask of deception is often used to meet personal needs, often, people will stop at nothing to get what they want, even if that means trickery, betrayal,and manipulation.