Homework Help

How is betrayal shown in Othello?Why did Iago betray each character in Othello? 

user profile pic

subz95 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 9, 2012 at 6:50 AM via web

dislike 0 like

How is betrayal shown in Othello?

Why did Iago betray each character in Othello? 

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 9, 2012 at 2:38 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

Iago is one of Shakespeare's most evil villians.  His betrayal of his commander, his friend and his own wife spring from his jealousy of being overlooked for a promotion.  He immediately begins spreading the idea that the Moor Othello has used witchcraft in convincing Desdemona to marry him.  When this does not work in having Othello demoted, he uses his friend Roderigo to romantically pursue Desdemona, telling him that she does love him.  Iago must keep the wealthy Roderigo interested so that he has a continual flow of money.

As this plan becomes less likely to succeed, Iago turns to using Cassio, a friend of Othello's, against him by insinuating that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair.  He even enlists his own wife, Emilia, to steal Desdemona's scarf for Iago's evil purposes.  When Cassio turns up with the scarf, Othello is convinced.  Iago has convinced him that Desdemona is cheating; Othello kills her.   However, Iago is not finished.  When Emilia threatens to blow his cover, Iago kills her as well.  

The tragic outcome has several dead, including Othello by his own hand, and Iago a caged animal.   The betrayal ended with himself.


Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes