Essay on The Talent of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello

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The Talent of Iago in Othello

William Shakespeare's Othello is a tragic drama that shows the overwhelming power of deception and the damage it can lead to. Othello's right-hand man is Iago; on the surface a die-hard friend and confidant, in reality comparable to the devil himself. Iago uses other characters as though they were his puppets, planting lies and watching the sorrowful fruit born. Iago deceives virtuous, yet weaker men (such as Cassio and Roderigo) with ease, but feels greatly threatened by the most powerful, virtuous general in the land - Othello. Othello's only flaw is jealousy, and Iago exploits this to no end, using him to get what he wants. Iago's talent to manipulate the truth and control other people
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Roderigo and Cassio fall to Iago's treachery by one if not both of these emotions. However, Othello turns out to be the most vulnerable character to Iago's wickedness. Iago himself says that "I'll pour this pestilence into his ear," (2.2.309) which supports the fact that Iago means to drive Othello crazy by feeding him lies concerning Cassio and Desdemona. The pestilence turns into the words Iago uses to create the illusion inside Othello's mind that Cassio made love to Desdemona. Iago fulfills this plan in the middle of the next act as he relates an alternate version of the truth to Othello, thus manipulating reality inside Othello's mind. Othello, upon hearing Iago's upsetting words, demands proof of the adultery between Cassio and Desdemona. This demand leads Iago to assume more of a director's role so that he can manipulate the action of the play as well as the minds of the characters.

Iago's ability to direct and stage the action of the play demonstrates his ability to alter the appearance of things. An important example of the way in which Iago manipulates the action arises at the moment that he obtains Othello's handkerchief, which had been given to Desdemona. The handkerchief becomes the one object that leads to the destruction of Othello, Desdemona, and Emilia and eventually the downfall of Iago himself. After unknowingly being deceived by Iago, Othello, in a rage of jealousy and anger, demands proof of Desdemona's unfaithfulness. This proof

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