How does Cassio's role relate to a modern audience and today's society?

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cassio operates like many public figures today in separating his private actions from his public persona. He is concerned largely with his reputation and his desire to be seen as an honorable and worthy man, even though he is not totally upstanding in his behaviour.  Cassio is particularly upset after his lapse into drinking with Iago that leads to his very public dismissal from office by Othello-

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

Interestingly it is not the loss of the position which wounds him, but the perception of him as a man. Rather like many politicians of today, Cassio does not necessarily wish to adhere to socially acceptable codes and norms, he just wants to be seen to do so. Another example is his treatment of  women. Cassio is polite and respectful to Desdemona and other ladies of the court, is apparently married, and yet makes cruel use of Bianca in leading her on and mocking her behind her back-


I marry her! What? A customer! I prithee, bear some(135)
charity to my wit;

Cassio therefore shows his need to be seen as an eminent public figure, but he does not always have the moral fibre to act up to his own standards.