How can Othello and Iago be seen as contrasting characters in Act 1 of Othello?I already have jealousy and race but is there more to it?

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Othello and Iago have several elements to their characters that indicate contrast. Iago is forthright to the audience in telling us of his deceptive nature:

 I am not what I am (I. 1)

In contrast Othello believes that his deeds indicate his nature, as he says in Act I scene ii with regard to the charges brought by Brabanitio for stealing his daughter Desdemona:

‘My services, which I have done the signiory

Shall out-tongue his complaints. (I. ii)

Iago judges all to be as deceptive and corrupt as himself, claiming both Cassio and Othello have slept with his wife. However, he also says that Othello is much more trusting than himself:

The moor is of a free and open nature

That thinks men honest that but seem to be so; (I iii)

Othello on the other hand believes faithfully in the good of others, most dangerously Iago:

….my ancient;

 A man he is of honesty and trust (I iii)

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