At the beginning of the first scene in Shakespeare's Othello, Iago is complaining bitterly to Roderigo that Othello has chosen someone other than Iago to be his lieutenant, his second-in-command.
Iago tells Roderigo that he had arranged for well-placed Venetian citizens ("three great ones of the city") to speak to Othello on his behalf. Othello wouldn't see them, Iago says. Othello made overblown excuses to avoid seeing them and told them that he has already chosen a lieutenant: Michael Cassio.
Iago provides information about his own qualifications for the position by explaining Cassio's shortcomings to Roderigo.
Iago says that Cassio is a Florentine, not a Venetian, implying that Cassio has mixed loyalties to Othello and Venice.
Iago considers his own military experience far superior to Cassio's. Iago says that Cassio has no experience commanding men on the field of battle and implies that Cassio can't even control his own wife.
Cassio is schooled ("a great arithmetician"), whereas Iago is...
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