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Why didn't Othello name Iago as his lieutenant?Whenever Othello talks about Iago in Act...

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maria-agua | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 27, 2012 at 2:08 AM via web

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Why didn't Othello name Iago as his lieutenant?

Whenever Othello talks about Iago in Act 1 he always describes him as an honorable man?

Tagged with cassio, iago, literature, othello

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:08 AM (Answer #1)

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Judging from Iago's contemptuous description of him in the opening scene of the play, Cassio has little military experience but has a much better education than Iago. Iago sounds like a tough master sergeant with years of battlefield experience who has to take orders from a young second lieutenant fresh out of West Point. Iago calls Cassio "a great arithmetician" and "bookish" and a "countercaster" (bookkeeper). Evidently Othello feels he needs someone with a good education to help with the administrative details he will have to deal with as governor of Cyprus. Othello values Iago but more as a soldier than a desk-man. There is also a good possibility that Cassio has powerful connections in Venice who have used their influence with Othello.

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