In Othello, why does Roderigo hate Othello?

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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jealousy, or "the green-eyed god" as Iago calls it, is Roderigo's chief motivation for hating Othello. There's also more than a hint of injured pride in Roderigo's feelings. He'd been assiduously courting Desdemona for quite some time, even going so far as to pay Iago to help him secure her hand in marriage. But all to no avail. Not only has Roderigo lost Desdemona, he's also wasted his money on Iago's worthless mediation.

Unfortunately, Roderigo is hardly the most intelligent of characters, and his general stupidity, combined with the tempestuous passions of unrequited love, is a dangerous mix indeed. In such a weak and vulnerable state, Roderigo is easy prey for Iago, who cunningly embroils him in his own dastardly plan to settle scores with Othello.

As Roderigo is so foolish, he cannot learn from his mistakes. He thought that lavishing money and gifts on Desdemona would win her round. It didn't. He then thought that perhaps paying Iago to act as a go-between might somehow do the trick. But that didn't work either. And yet here he is again, so lovesick and desperate for revenge, that he's prepared to allow himself to be the pawn of a thoroughgoing blackguard like Iago. This is a man constitutionally incapable of learning his lesson.

There is also more than an element of self-loathing in Roderigo's hatred of Othello. He's everything that Roderigo is not––brave, intelligent and good-looking. Roderigo projects all his insecurities onto Othello in the unspoken belief that, if he can get rid of the "moor" and be with Desdemona, then he will gain a position of respect as well as being able to respect himself.

Sadly for Roderigo, he is much too foolish, dissolute, and immature to realize the utter folly of such deluded fantasies. And although some semblance of wisdom finally does come to the impetuous young aristocrat, it's too little, too late, arriving only after Roderigo has been literally and figuratively stabbed in the back by the wicked Iago. It's something of a tragedy that Roderigo was never able to heed Iago's own advice to Othello in Act III Scene III:

"Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on."
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, Roderigo is the young, gullible Venetian suitor of Desdemona. Roderigo is madly in love with Desdemona, which provides Iago the opportunity to manipulate Roderigo into giving him all of his money in exchange for his help at winning Desdemona's love. Throughout the play, Roderigo becomes jealous of Othello after he learns that he has married Desdemona. Roderigo even contemplates committing suicide after Desdemona marries Othello. It is jealousy that fuels Roderigo's hatred for Othello. He is attracted to Desdemona and feels heartbroken after she chooses Othello to be her husband. In Roderigo's mind, Othello has stolen his true love, and Roderigo is willing to go to extreme lengths to earn Desdemona's love. Later on in the play, Iago convinces Roderigo to fight Cassio after mentioning that Desdemona is attracted to him.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Roderigo hates Othello because he was one of the suitors for Desdemona. He is still in love with Desdemona and hates Othello because she chose Othello over him. One can see why Desdemona rejected him because he is so gullible and easily duped. Iago tells Roderigo that Desdemona is only physically attracted to Othello and will soon grow tired of him. Roderigo is the one who informs her father that Desdemona has escaped with Othello, something that would not endear Desdemona to him. Then he becomes a pawn of Iago, mindlessly following every command Iago gives him. For his efforts, he is wounded by Cassio and finally murdered by Iago himself.