Othello is set in Venice where the two characters of Iago and Roderigo are on their way to reveal the secret of elopement between Othello and Desdemona to Senator Brabantio. The deceitful nature of Iago is brought out and Brabantio uses the breached news to take the matter to the Duke of Venice for discussion. Both Othello and Desdemona are cleared of wrongdoing and the former is sent to Cyprus in defense against the Turkey regiment. While in Cyprus, the careful plotted twist by Iago on turning Cassio against Othello takes route as he uses Roderigo and manipulates Desdemona. In the end, Othello murders his own wife before realizing the schemed plan and takes his own life. Iago is a vindictive and evil thinker who orchestrates the demise of Othello and Desdemona based on revenge.   


Iago stems his plan of revenge and deceit from the direct fall out with Othello. He draws his anger from the exclusion as concerns his promotion by his senior. In the scene 1 of the play, Iago makes known of his displeasure at the treatment from Othello. He says, “Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the City, in personal suit to make me his lieutenant, I know my price; I am worth no worse a place (Shakespeare Act 1Scene 1Line 4).” This reveals that he was indeed supposed to be promoted in his role as captain of Othello’s forces. The second instance reveals his anger. He says, “I have already chose my officer. And what was he? Forsooth, a great mathematician. One Michael Cassio, a Florentine. A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife (Shakespeare Act 1 Scene 1 Line 14).”

            In the second quotation, we are made to understand the little regard Iago has of Michael Cassio’s promotion into a senior rank than he. Othello had chosen Cassio as the Lieutenant despite his close friendship with him. He was to serve in the military of the elitist society under the leadership of Othello. It is in this context that we learn of Iago’s vindictive nature when he blatantly undermines Cassio’s stature and role in the military (Reitz-Wilson 6). He questions the expertise of Cassio as he refers to the little knowledge of the battlefield he supposedly had. He says that he had never set foot in the squadron.     

            The most important speech by Iago was directed to Brabantio. He quickly went to announce of the impending elopement between Othello and Brabantio’s daughter, Desdemona. Brabantio being the Duke of Venice had a respectable position in the society and Iago knew he could manipulate the situation in order to advance his interests. Due to the failed promotion by Othello, this speech marked his impending vindictive plan and manipulation abilities. He had to convince the duke of Venice on the impact that the elopement would have in his respect as the leader and the response from the people around. The speech was aided by Roderigo in order to add more impetus and increase the chances of action being taken by Brabantio on Othello.

            In the play, the themes of jealousy, revenge and animosity are depicted through the characterization of Iago as the focus and later on by Othello. After Othello had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Duke, Iago plotted a scheme on Othello concerning his wife. He intended to show Othello of Cassio’s supposed interest in his wife. He says, “Are you fast married? Be assured of this, that the magnifico is much beloved, and hath in his effect a voice potential as double as the Duke’s, he will divorce you (Shakespeare Act 2 Scene 1 Line 4).” Through these statements, we are shown of Iago’s jealous nature on Cassio’s promotion as well as the intended plan of revenge upon him by turning him against his friend Othello.

            Towards the end of the play, several twists unearth the truth behind the vindictive and manipulative schemes of Iago. Iago succeeds in manipulating Othello on his friend, Cassio. The latter was to be murdered while Othello in anger kills his wife Desdemona. Emilia, Iago’s wife, finds of her husband’s suspicious ways and decides to reveal the truth to Othello. However, it was a case of too little too late as Desdemona was dead already. Lodovico and Gratiano get the news from Emilia but she succumbs to death too (Putnam 17). Cassio confirms the same truth to Othello, who blames himself and decides to kill himself. On seeing the eventualities, Iago realizes his hand in all the proceeds and decides to keep quiet and leave never to be seen.


The play on Othello is an informative piece of literature, which depicts the nature of Iago as being a vindictive, evil thinker and manipulative person in nature. Due to a failed promotion by Othello, he decides to turn his grievance into a plan in which Othello was to turn against his friend, kill his own wife and later on commit suicide for the wrongs he had done. Iago is a careful thinker and planner and succeeds in achieving this even leading to his own wife’s death as the play highlights the issues of revenge and jealousy.   

Works Cited:

Putnam, Jennifer. “Jealousy in Othello.” LaGrange College Journal Vol. 3. 1 (2005): 13-24. Print.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. Feedbooks. Web. 2 December 2014 http://www.feedbooks.com

Reitz-Wilson, Laura. “Race and Othello in film.” Purdue Educ Journals Vol. 6:1 (2004). Print.

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