Iago is depicted as the ultimate villain, carefully planning and executing an impressive plot to get revenge on Othello . He seeks revenge because Othello did not promote him to the revered position of lieutenant and gave the title to the inexperienced Michael Cassio. Iago also suspects that Othello has...
Iago is depicted as the ultimate villain, carefully planning and executing an impressive plot to get revenge on Othello. He seeks revenge because Othello did not promote him to the revered position of lieutenant and gave the title to the inexperienced Michael Cassio. Iago also suspects that Othello has slept with his wife and proceeds to manipulate several characters in order to get revenge. Despite Iago's malevolent intentions, Othello completely trusts him and believes that he is a benevolent, loyal subject.
Iago's betrayal is poignantly depicted in act three, scene three, when he initially begins to plant the seeds of jealousy and suspicion into Othello's head. When Othello witnesses Cassio run away after speaking with Desdemona, Iago insinuates that Desdemona and Cassio are engaged in an affair and warns Othello about the dangers of jealousy. Iago proceeds to say,
I speak not yet of proof.
Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio.
Wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure.
I would not have your free and noble nature
Out of self-bounty be abused. Look to ’t.
I know our country disposition well.
In Venice they do let God see the pranks
They dare not show their husbands.
Their best conscience
Is not to leave ’t undone, but keep’t unknown. (3.3.201-209)
Iago continues to betray Othello by painting Desdemona in a negative light and reminding him of how she cleverly deceived her father. Iago's portrayal of Desdemona raises concerns about her honesty, and Othello begins to entertain the idea of his wife's infidelity. Iago continues to play on Othello's insecurities by saying,
Ay, there’s the point. As, to be bold with you,
Not to affect many proposèd matches
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,
Whereto we see in all things nature tends—
Foh! One may smell in such a will most rank,
Foul disproportions, thoughts unnatural.
But—pardon me—I do not in position
Distinctly speak of her, though I may fear
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
May fall to match you with her country forms,
And happily repent. (3.3.234-244)
Once Othello begins to doubt Desdemona's faithfulness, Iago leaves him with his tortured thoughts and receives Desdemona's handkerchief from Emilia. Iago proceeds to elaborate on the rest of his plan during an aside by saying,
I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin
And let him find it. Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ. This may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison. (3.3.331-335)
Overall, Iago's betrayal of Othello is depicted in act three, scene three, when he insinuates that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio and manipulates Othello's insecurities. Othello becomes tainted by Iago's suggestions and becomes suspicious of his wife.