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 scene one, act one of Othello, William Shakespeare portrays the power of jealousy and the influence that it has over people's lives. Also how the separation and discrimination of gender effects the actions and rule over one's life.
William Shakespeare’s Othello shows 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.
Williams Shakespeare also demonstrates the element of gender in Othello. He shows that the power of gender effects the actions of the characters in the play.
Act 1 takes the reader to the doorstep of Brabantio's home to the Duke's quarters in Venice, Italy. Desdemona in the mid of night elopes with the Moor, Othello who woos Desdemona with his battle stories from when he was young to present time. Desdemona, Brabantio's daughter was accused a victim of being stolen by Othello. The men think that since Desdemona is a women she can’t think for herself, and can’t feel love for the moor.
In the middle of the night Roderigo and Iago wake Brabantio with yelling and shouting about thieves. They tell Brabantio, “Look to your house, your daughter, and your bags! Thieves, thieves!” (Shakespeare 1,1. 87-88)
Explanation of Quote:
Shakespeare proves here as Roderigo and Iago shout to the heavens that thief have stolen something they are talking about Brabantio's daughter. They say that she is stolen as if she were a possession not a human. Here the reader or watcher sees the power of gender demonstrated on Desdemona (a women) as though she can not fight for herself (like a possession) and has been stolen from her home, hence how the men referred to Othello as a thief. The men in this scene are the upper power in gender due to being men and not women.
However, in the story they’re are a few men who think that Desdemona is not just a women but a genuine person and believe that she should be able to think, choose and be treated as all the other men in the room.
During the middle of the night, as the Duke holds a meeting for the Cyprus wars, Othello is brought in my Brabantio's men along with Iago and Roderigo who watch from behind. They accuse Othello and ask him to speak for his actions.
Desdemona is brought in in front of the duke who then lets her speak, “Nor would I there reside to put my father in impatient thoughts by being in his eye. Most gracious duke, to my unfolding lend your prosperous ear and let me find a charter in your voice T’ assist my simpleness” (Shakespeare, 1,3,276-280)
Shakespeare demonstrates the power of gender in this quote by Desdemona saying to the Duke, please let me talk to you and listen to me and find that what I am saying has a true meaning of my feelings. She wants the Duke to listen to her and in the book he does listen to her. This shows that the Duke treats a women as though a man through voice.
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. Again another common view of gender is that men are stronger in which they are on appearance. Men can handle more than women as some think and this shows that men treat women as their own. However, the some men in this story do not. The Duke and Othello listen to Desdemona as she tells them her love for Othello and understand she is not a prize to be bought.
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. In act 1 scene 1 of Othello, Shakespeare shows that this need for Iago’s revenge will cause him to persevere, and undergo multiple personalities to get what he wants. The power of gender leads many into revenge and deception of being two faced that the women can’t think nothing of love.