What information does Iago use to spark Roderigo’s interest in his plan to discredit Cassio in Othello?

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Iago is able to enlist Roderigo to help him enact his nefarious plans for revenge by convincing him that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. Roderigo becomes incensed by this revelation because he had asked Desdemona's father for permission to marry her on several occasions. Once Iago is able to get Roderigo on board with his plans, he is able to extort money and jewels from him. He claims that the jewels are gifts for Desdemona, but Iago is materialistic and keeps Roderigo's wealth for himself. Once Roderigo becomes suspicious of Iago, he questions him on several occasions about the lack of progress being made. Iago is always able to rope Roderigo back in to his plans and eventually convinces Roderigo to kill Cassio in order to secure Desdemona's affections; however, he fails in this task and merely stabs Cassio in the leg. Iago decides that Roderigo has become a liability and murders him. Iago has an uncanny sense for identifying the weaknesses in others and using those weaknesses, and his own cruelty, to bring out the cruelty in others.

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The information can be found in Act II scene 1, which is when Iago has a chance to observe Cassio and Desdemona together. What he does is to persuade Roderigo, who himself sought the hand of Desdemona in marriage, that Desdemona is in love with Cassio:

The

lieutenant tonight watches on the court of

guard:--first, I must tell thee this--Desdemona is

directly in love with him.

Of course, one of the important aspects of Iago's character is the way that he is able to read those around him so excellently; he understands that Roderigo will be driven into anger by the thought of Desdemona loving anybody else but him, and thus he uses this fact to get Roderigo on his side. Iago really shows himself to be an expert reader of people, as he knows just how to manipulate Roderigo and what would work best to enlist his help. 

 

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