This he thinks will serve to revenge himself on Othello for both offences at one blow: His inferior position compels him to play the hypocrite, and appear to continue faithful to Othello. After his usual manner Shakespeare has made the opening conflict, that between Othello and lago, the chief conflict of the play.
Some critics think it is because of such offences as that with Emilia that Othello is unable to maintain an undisturbed married relationship with his refined and delicate Venetian bride.
Shakespeare has apparently been at pains to show us what lago's attitude toward the Moor was, as well as what it is, and the explanation of the change can be found only in the play itself. Every one regarded lago also as an upright and noble-minded man, and he had earned for himself the epithet of "honest.
This is the play. In his final speech Othello claims that he was "one that loved not wisely but too well" and it is clear that his feelings regarding Desdamona were extremely passionate and overwhelming.
This wholly unwarranted rightly grieved lago, who took it as a great slight, for he believed he was entitled to promotion. Up to this time Othello had borne himself nobly in his adopted state, and had the full confidence of the people and the senate, and was universally acknowledged to be the first soldier of Venice.
The incidents that take place at the opening of the play, at the same time as the change in the attitude of lago, are two, the courtship and marriage of Othello and Desdemona, and the promotion of Cassio to the position of lieutenant under Othello.
This he thinks will serve to revenge himself on Othello for both offences at one blow: He can't quite believe how happy he is that she loves him: She bids Othello to do the sensible thing and ask Cassio how he obtained the handkerchief but this is too rational for Othello who has already ordered his murder.
Iago suggests to Cassio that he importune Desdemona to intercede for him, which she does. I hold my peace, sir? She remains in love with him knowing that he is responsible for her death. Several strokes of good fortune the handkerchief etc help Iago keep Othello on side until the murder of Desdamona but ultimately it is his genius for manipulation and trickery that ensures his success.
But Iago, though in close touch with Othello, protests he did not "dream of such a matter," implying that it was as much a surprise to him as to any one. This is the basis of the complaint of lago, and arouses at once his suspicion and bitter resentment, and soon turns him into an abiding but very stealthy enemy.
Her father is shocked and dismayed: If Othello can be capable of such gross violation of all military rules and practices, lago sees that he can no longer trust Othello, and that all confidence between them has virtually ceased to exist, and no longer can he hope for the intimate relationships of former days to continue.
With no reason that he dare give, he appoints a wholly inexperienced man in preference to a tried and proven soldier who had fought under his own eyes, "At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds Christen'd and heathen.
But for my sport and profit. Hamlet, an ideal prince, and other essays in Shakesperean interpretation: He was quite equal to the task of maintaining his military, or semi-barbaric, relations to the state, and rose to the highest command in Venice.
Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor At least into a jealousy so strong That judgment cannot cure. Now all at once, for some reason that has not been understood, lago has been turned into the bitter enemy of his old friend, Othello, and as if to mark the importance of this for the interpretation of the play, the dramatist has chosen this point in their relations for the opening scene.
In marrying a 'Moor', Desdemona flies in the face of convention and faces familial and societal criticism for her bold choice. When Roderigo eventually realizes that he has been mislead by empty promises, most of the damage has already been done and he has lost practically his entire wealth to Iago.
This is the basis of the complaint of lago, and arouses at once his suspicion and bitter resentment, and soon turns him into an abiding but very stealthy enemy.
A complete criticism of the assigned motive of lago, and an attempt at the elaboration of his real state of mind must be left until after we have followed the conflict through the initial stages, when we shall be better able to judge the real merits of the case. Cinthio also drew a moral which he placed in the mouth of the lady that European women are unwise to marry the temperamental males of other nations.
For some time lago had what he considered good reason for hating the Moor, though this latest episode enables him for the first time to see through the whole affair.
Emilia is only slightly, if any, culpable. We get no answers from Iago and are left to wonder if love is possible in a world where such malicious characters can exist.
In his final speech Othello claims that he was "one that loved not wisely but too well" and it is clear that his feelings regarding Desdamona were extremely passionate and overwhelming.
He complains that Iago had not forewarned him in order that their marriage might have been prevented. This rewarding of Cassio with a military position because of personal service to himself and Desdemona was a most dangerous thing for a general to do, and opened up all kinds of possibilities of trouble, not only with lago, but with the discipline of all his forces.Iago, of course, is primarily responsible.
He calls attention to Cassio and Desdemona talking together innocently and suggests that something more is going on between them. The first scene of Othello presents a conversation between Roderigo, the disappointed suitor of Desdemona, and Iago, concerning incidents of which Othello is the chief agent.
Othello and Desdemona have eloped, it seems, leaving Roderigo disappointed and distressed. IAGO & SEX: British actor and director Kenneth Branagh as Iago in the film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello. Homosexuality is a theme both hinted at. Emilia's love for Desdemona is perhaps the purest of her feelings.
The bond, then, between lago and Emilia is the bond of evil, in the one case instinctive, in the other acquired. Back to the Othello Examination Questions main page. Iago is revengeful, for a number of reasons, the most prominent is the fact he is angry at Othello and Michael Cassio (the man who Othello promoted), jealous of Othello and Desdemona (Othello’s wife) for their happy relationship and racist against Othello as he is a black man in a “white man’s world”.
- The Relationship Between Othello and Iago In this scene Iago persuades Cassio, who is on watch, to drink, knowing that he is not a drinker and that he will be easy to antagonise. Roderigo provokes Cassio into a fight and Othello, hearing the disturbance, arrives to find the nobleman Montano seriously injured.Download