What did Iago do to cause Cassio to lose his job?

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As other posts mention, Iago is able to manipulate Cassio, who has confessed that he dislikes drinking, as alcohol goes to his head quickly and causes him to lose control of himself. Iago plays on Cassio's insecurity of being a "military academy" sort of guy rather than the rank and...

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As other posts mention, Iago is able to manipulate Cassio, who has confessed that he dislikes drinking, as alcohol goes to his head quickly and causes him to lose control of himself. Iago plays on Cassio's insecurity of being a "military academy" sort of guy rather than the rank and file type. In order to fit in and to be one among the army, Cassio agrees to drink. Iago is able to play this situation in such a way that Cassio engages in a brawl with another man, causing unrest on Cypress.

Othello must come, interrupting his time with Desdemona, to settle the camp. This moment of Othello's frustration coincides with his disappointment that he cannot trust his new appointee to keep peace. From this, Iago can use Cassio's firing to construct the central illusion of Cassio and Desdemona's infidelity.

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Iago harbors a deep resentment towards Cassio. He hates the fact that Cassio has been promoted over him. As a professional soldier, Iago thinks it unacceptable that some effeminate aristocrat has been given what he believes is rightfully his. So Iago, being Iago, sets out to destroy Cassio. Ever the skilled manipulator, Iago is able to ensure that Cassio gets blind drunk and ends up in an unseemly brawl with Roderigo, another of Iago's unwitting dupes.

Iago's plan seems to work, as Cassio is publicly disgraced. Such low behavior is unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. Yet things work out for Iago even better than he could have imagined. For Cassio fatefully pleads with Desdemona to intercede on his behalf with Othello to have Cassio restored to his position. Iago immediately sees an opportunity to sow further discord and quickly puts in place yet another dastardly plot, one that will lead to suspicion, jealousy, and tragic death.

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In Act 2, Scene 3, Iago plans to get Cassio drunk and quarrelsome in order to disgrace him before Othello and the whole town.

If I can fasten but one cup upon him

With that which he hath drunk tonight already,

He'll be as full of quarrel and offense

As my young mistress' dog.

Iago is a shrewd judge of men and uses their weaknesses to his own advantage. He knows that Cassio has a low tolerance for alcohol.

Sure enough, Cassio gets into a sword fight with Montano, and Iago sends his dupe Roderigo off to cry "Mutiny!" Othello appears on the scene and is outraged that his lieutenant should be behaving in such a manner while on duty and while they are in a state of emergency. He tells him:

Cassio, I love thee,

But never more be officer of mine.

Iago thus becomes second in command by default. This incident is of great importance in the plot, because Cassio begins seeking Desdemona's help in getting back into Othello's favor at a time when Othello is becoming jealous and suspicous of the relationship between the handsome Cassio and his beautiful wife. Desdemona is only hurting herself when she pleads with her husband to reinstate Cassio. It looks as if she has more than a friendly interest in Cassio. Iago manages to work his mischief without being suspected of being responsible.

 

 

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