TheTragedy of Othello is a recount of events that led to the fall ofOthello as a military leader. The four main characters in the storyinclude Othello (a Venetian army general), Iago (his loyal ensign),Desdemona (his new wife), and Cassio (his lieutenant). The objectiveof this essay is to prove that Iago is the betrayer and cause forOthello’s fall.
Iagois an experienced fighter serving under Othello, the Moorish general.However, he has grudge with Othello because he preferred to promote ayounger scholar and war strategists, but with no battlefieldexperience, to serve as his lieutenant. “Forsooth,a great arithmetician, / One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, / A fellowalmost damn`d in a fair wife (Act1Scene 1)” Iago claims that he was the most suited for thepromotion because Cassio is just a scholar with no reputation as anexperienced soldier. In addition, Iago is determined to cause thedownfall of Othello because he had allegedly slept with his wifeEmilia (Shakespeare 4).
Iago’sdetermination to crash Othello’s leadership is enhanced byRonderigo’s request of his aid to win over Desdemona. Ronderigowanted to marry Desdemona, but, unfortunately, Othello managed to wooher first. Iago betrayed Othello and led to his fall because he wasthe one who set up a conspiracy to convince Othello that his new wifewas a philanderer. Othello killed Desdemona because she was allegedlycheating on him with Cassio, but these were creative lies that Iagoinvented. For example, Iago set up a meeting with Cassio, andinformed Othello to hide nearby so that he could witness Casioconfessing that he was sleeping with Desdemona (Shakespeare 7).However, Iago ensured that Othello could not hear their conversation.On the other hand, he ensured that Othello was at a strategicposition that he could observe Cassio’s gestures and furtherobservable visual communication traits that could confirm hissuspicion that he was sleeping with Desdemona. Instead, Iagodiscussed Bianca’s sexual escapades with Cassio. Cassio’sgestures and reactions confirmed Othello’s suspicion that his wifewas a prostitute. Furthermore, Bianca confronted Cassio with ahandkerchief that resembled that of Desdemona as Othello was watchingthe events from a hidden. Iago’s conspiracy to destroy Othello’smarriage raised a notch higher for the events painted Desdemona as aphilanderer (Shakespeare 16).
Emiliawas not a betrayer towards Othello’s downfall despite the fact thatshe was the one who gave Iago the handkerchief that was used to proveCassio’s love affair with Desdemona. Iago had requested her tosteal Desdemona’s handkerchief on many occasions before, but henever revealed how he intended to use a handkerchief. When Emiliagave it to him, he was overjoyed because he now had the concreteevidence that Othello required to confirm that his new wife wascheating on him (Shakespeare 20). In Act 5 Scene 3, Emilia testifiesbefore the jusry that was presiding over Othello’s case that shehad found Desdemona’s handkerchief in her chamber, and gave it ingood faith to her husband. She did not know that Iago intended to usea handkerchief to set her up as a prostitute. “Othou dull Moor! that handkerchief thou speak`st of / I found byfortune and did give my husband / For often, with a solemnearnestness (Act5 Scene 3).”
Desdemonadid not betray or contribute to Othello’s downfall because she wasloyal to him. Iago created situations that made Desdemona appear asif she was cheating on him. For example, Iago placed Desdemona’shandkerchief in Cassio’s chamber to convince Othello that he wassleeping with his new wife. In addition, Iago gave Cassio wine andsent Ronderigo to provoke him. He wanted Cassio to misbehave so thatOthello can strip him his rank, just as it happened. The same Iagoadvised Cassio to approach Desdemona and convince her to request herhusband to reinstate him to his former Lieutenant position(Shakespeare 23). Iago even offers to convince the general that theytake a walk to the city so that Cassion can talk privately toDesdemona. However, he ensures that they return quickly from thecity, and announced, such that the general finds Cassio talking withhis wife. Cassio insists on the general that Cassio is cheating withhis wife, hence the reason he had visited him when they were away.Iago played the greatest role in convincing Othello that his wife wasa cheat (Shakespeare 26).
Insummary, Iago was contributed the highest effort towards the fall ofOthello. He came up with the conspiracies to convince the generalthat Cassio was sleeping with his wife. In addition, he hadmasterminded the commotion between Cassio and Roderigo so that madeOthello suspend the lieutenant from his position. On the other hand,Iago advised Cassio to seek assistance from Desdemona so that theycan appear as if they are having an affair. Therefore, the evidencefrom the book proves that Iago is a betrayer and the major cause ofOthello’s downfall (Shakespeare 38).
Shakespeare,William. “Othello,the Moore of Venice,”Web source.Viewed from < http://shakespeare.mit.edu/othello/full.html>on May 1, 2014.