How does Iago's appearance differ between characters in the play and the audience?

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The short answer? Preparation and twisting the truth.

The slightly longer answer? Iago spies on people, hanging in the corners of their lives like a spider. He gathers up secret information, or actual objects, like the handkerchief. He then takes that information or those objects and puts them in a new context. He shades the truth. He whispers not just lies, but lies that speak to the hidden part of the people he's talking to. In doing so, he changes how they see the world, and him. He feeds Othello's fears, for example, of infidelity. He takes real information (for example, that Othello and Desdemona are involved) and feeds it to others in twisted ways. These can be lies, but they can also be twisted deliveries of the truth. For example, Iago gets Roderigo involved in telling Brabantio about his daughter's activities, and does so at night, when people are vulnerable.


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