Explain how Iago is manipulative in Othello, including specific examples and quotations.

Iago manipulates the other characters of Othello by preying on and triggering their individual doubts and insecurities. He implies to Othello that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio, but, importantly, he makes his implications sound hesitant so that Othello is more inclined to believe him. Iago also leads people into situations that make them appear to confirm what Iago has told other characters.

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Iago is an interesting villain. Whereas many of Shakespeare's villains—like Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Angelo (in Measure for Measure), Tamora (in Titus Andronicus), and Richard III—generally take care of business themselves or directly order someone else to do it, it's not until the last act of Othello that Iago does anything to get his own hands dirty. Even then, Iago gets personally involved only because his plan against Othello goes slightly awry, and he has to step in to sort things out by wounding Cassio and murdering Roderigo in act 5, scene 1. Later, in act 5, scene 2, Iago kills his own wife, Emelia, for revealing his plan to destroy Othello and Desdemona, but this occurs only after his plan has already succeeded. Until then, Iago is content to manipulate others into doing his dirty work.

Iago is a master of insinuation and deception, and he uses those skills to take advantage of other characters' weaknesses and insecurities. Othello is a trusting soul, and Iago insinuates himself...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1267 words.)

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