Summary: Iago's Manipulations Through the Othello Play

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Based on this play “Othello” mainly revolves around Iago a lower class person who is only worried about bettering his social status, Iago is very similar to Othello in many aspects, but there are some important differences in this story that makes Iago the villain and Othello the hero. Marxist criticism helps understand this story because it allowed iago to seek power and revenge which eventually lead to him using jealousy and manipulation.

Iago is a very manipulating person that thinks about a evil plan to manipulate everyone that way he can get promoted by Othello but also seek vengeance on him for choosing Cassio. In this play Iago says “ So it’s all decided. I’ve worked it out. With a little help from the devil, I’ll bring this monstrous plan to success. “this quote shows the readers the type of person Iago is becoming due to him not getting what he wants, this also shows that he’s a jealous type of person who only cares about himself and is willing to do anything to become part of the upper class. It shows Marxist lens because ever since Othello promoted someone else and not Iago, it put him in a state of anger which lead him to being bitter towards Othello.

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Roderigo starts to show his for Desdemona which Iago noticed and he used that as a strength to manipulate Othello more. He states “It’s silly to live when life is torture. The only cure is torture.”This shows how easily Othello can get manipulated by Iago. You can’t trust anyone not even your close friends. Iago only has one goal, and that goal is to ruin everyone’s happiness, which he thinks revenge is the best way to go when its not. He enjoys the pain that he causes and the suffering he see each one of them get as he continues to manipulate Othello more.

The big difference between Iago and Othello is that, Iago enjoys exacting revenge while Othello struggles with it which he tries to justify it as his duty. Iago comes up with a more evil plan by talking to Othello about a self made lie to pursue his manipulation, where he uses one of his lieutenant and accuses him of having an affair with his wife Desdemona. Iago states that “That’ll help. Cassio’s a handsome man. Lets see, how can i get his position and use him to hurt Othello at the same time? How? How? Lets see. After a while i’ll start telling Othello that Cassio is too intimate with desdemona. Cassio is a smooth talker and a good-looking guys, the sort of man that people would expect to be a seducer.” Marxist lens show that Iago is willing to do anything to abolish Othello’s relationship not only with him but with the ones closest to him. This is all because of a promotion he didn’t get that he believed he deserved. His main goal is to make Othello suffer and feel the pain he felt when he didn’t get promoted.

Othello is a moor and Iago is not, they are both military men, who are held in high esteem by others. Iago comes up with more evil plans and creates more havoc, which he plans to strip a public sentiment against him in Cyprus. He manipulates Cassio into getting into a brawl which this doesn’t end well. He states “, “ I brought you here from venice. Be on guard duty tonight. I’ll put you in charge. Cassio doesn’t know you, i’ll be nearby. Make cassio angry some how, either by speaking too loud, or insulting his military skills, or however else you want.”Marxist lens also shows that Iago is the type of of person that is willing to sacrifice other people even if it causes them to harm themselves. We see this when he implies to one of othello’s lieutenant as a dog, after Iago manipulates Roderigo into getting into a brawl with Cassio he loses his position. This puts him in a state of joy and confidence which he will continue his mind games.

As the play goes on Iago continues using power and manipulation by using Desdemona’s generosity against her to help Cassio, but what she doesn’t know is that Iago is coming up with an evil idea to fill Othello up with anger and revenge. Where Iago states “Who can say i’m evil when my advice is so good? That’s really the best way to win the moor back again. It’s easy to get desdemona on your side. She’s full of good intentions. And the moor loves her so much he would renounce his christianity to keep her happy. He’s so enslaved by love that she can make him do whatever she wants. How am i evil to advise cassio to do exactly what i’ll do him good? That’s the kind of argument you’d expect from satan! When devils are about to commit their biggest sins they put on their most heavenly faces, just like im doing now. And while this fool is begging desdemona to help him, and while she’s pleading his case to the moor, i’ll poison the moor’s ear against her, hinting that she’s taking cassio’s side because of her lust for him.” This quote shows that Iago is going to do everything necessary to shatter Othello and everyone else with him.

Iago takes advantage of Othello’s wife by showing him evidence in which Cassio was with Desdemona, the evidence used was handkerchief in which he received from desdemona to show that she was present their. Emilia then tells Iago “’Im glad i found this handkerchief. It’s the first keepsake the moor gave her. My stubborn husband has asked me to steal it a hundred times. But she loves it so much ( since othello told her she would always keep it with her) that she always keeps it near her to kiss and talk to it. I’ll copy the embroidery pattern and then give it to iago. Heaven knows what he’s going to do with it. I only try to satisfy his whims” this shows how powerful Iago’s manipulation is, not only did he manipulate Desdemona but somehow he finds a way to manipulate Emilia also into giving him the handkerchief. He is unaware of Iago’s sinister plan to destroy Othello and his relationship with his wife. All of Iago’s manipulations lead to all of these characters destruction as each of their lives come to a tragic end. If iago had succeeded he would not only have become permanently better of, he would of also been promoted to lieutenant and maybe even elevated to the upper class.




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