Iago in Othello: The Mastermind of Deception and Manipulation

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The play and Iago's schemes

The play has an army general who gets married to a white woman. Othello married Desdemona and Lago is not happy about the situation. As a way of getting back, he schemes a plan to have them separated. Works to convince Othello that there is an affair between Cassio and Desdemona. In the fourth act, it is clear that Iago is ready to use any means to achieve his end. The play is a display on the society and an illustration of how jealousy and lies may have negative consequences on people's lives.

Summary of Act IV

The act is a description of the lie that Iago uses to get revenge against Othello who is also his boss in the military. In the first scene of the act, Iago successfully convinces Othello that his wife has an affair with Cassio (Bradley, 62). Othello is aware that his wife does not have the handkerchief he gave as a gift. Iago has convinced him that it was given to her lover as a gift. Additionally, there is Bianca who is in love with Casio and is in procession of the handkerchief. Iago is able to manipulate them to a certain outcome. He makes Othello observe and listen as they talk about Bianca and the way she loves him. He also convinces Othello that it is his wife they are discussing thus infuriating him to an extent of swearing to kill his wife. He also instructs Iago to kill Cassio due to his alleged habit of keeping an affair with his wife. Similarly, Bianca is angry and confronts Cassio in this act for giving him a used handkerchief as a gift. She fails to believe what Cassio says that it is someone else who placed it in his chamber.

The second scene has Othello asking from another source, Emilia about the actions of Casio and Desdemona. Emilia states that it is not possible that she had an affair with Cassio and that they have never had anything out of the ordinary. Emilia states that there must be a wretch that gave him such ideas and calls a curse upon the person (Bradley, 69). Despite the warning about the innocence of his wife by Emilia, Othello believes that she has an affair. He calls her a whore and cunning despite her denials.

As a way of stopping the alleged affair between his wife and Cassio, Othello has planned to move to Mauritania . Iago has that information and is aware that Cassion is the one suited to replace Othello. Therefore, he plans to harm him so that he may take that position. He manages to convince Roderigo to participate in the act of harming Cassio.


In act IV scene one of the play, Othello and Iago are in Cyprus before the castle. Iago lies to Othello that he found Desdemona naked in bed with another man. He also goes ahead to report that he thinks they do not mean any harm (Bradley, 64). Othello retains the pain that his wife gave out the handkerchief gift to another man and Iago says she has the right to do so. Othello and Iago also plan to extract a confession from Cassio about his involvement with Desdemona. Figures of speech

Figures of Speech

There is the use of figures of speech throughout in act to make it interesting and put emphasis on some points. The use of oxymoron is evident in the play and this particular act. Iago states that there are civilized monsters in the city. "There is many a beast then in a populous city. And many a civil monster." The emphasis is to show that there are no longer good people despite being civilized so as to make Othello believe his allegation that his wife has an affair with Cassio. The use of addition also presents in this act to make emphasis on a point. For example, when Cassio is talking to Bianca about the handkerchief, he repeatedly asks her how now. Similarly, Iago urges Cassio to follow Bianca repeatedly. "after her, after her." Similarly, when she makes Desdemona is crying about the insults, Iago repeatedly tells her, "do not weep, do not weep." Othello makes use of personification. "Nature would not invest herself in such shadowing passion without some instruction." There is also the use of irony in the act. After Othello has insulted his wife, Iago comes and she asks whether she is that name (Bradley, 69). although he knows the role he played in pitting the husband against his wife, he asks her whether it is the name fair lady (Bradley, 67). Additionally, he tells her that the insults he has used may be his way of humor.

Iago also makes the use of metaphor to make his case while all the time he acts as though there is no hidden agenda. For example, he emphasizes on acts of cheating by describing beds as unproper. "That nightly lie in those unproper beds." Othello also makes use of a metaphor when he states that his heart is turned to stone. It is not possible to strike a heart and it causes pain on the hand. However, he uses it to show that he no longer has any mercy for his wife due to her actions.

Social Context

The play has a representation of what happens in society. The acts of Iago are the reflection of the means used in society to achieve selfish ends. The fact that he pits Desdemona against Othello for selfish gains is wrong but it is what happens. He also plans to have Cassio harmed so that he get the position which he is unqualified. The reaction of Othello is similar to what people. He rushes to believe the lies about his wife without questioning or conducting an investigation and thus he ends up hurting an innocent person, Desdemona. Roderigo is also a reflection of the people who easily get incited in the society to perform criminal acts. It is easy for Iago to convince him to participate in the plan to harm Cassio although he has nothing against him.

The play is also an eye opener on issues of friendship and trust. Iago is a good friend and a workmate to Othello. In extension, he is also a friend to Desdemona. Similarly, he is also a friend to Cassio who even tells him about his personal affairs. Despite the friendship and trust that all these people have on him, he schemes plans which will harm them all. therefore, the play warns the society that trust should not be absolute. It is necessary to question any action even by friends.

Works cited

Bradley, Andrew Cecil. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear Macbeth. Macmillan International Higher Education, 1992.

September 25, 2023




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