Essay by MarchHigh School, 12th grade November 2002

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Throughout history, jealousy has often gotten the best of man. It is a quality that can possibly lead to tragedy to those who succumb to it. Only through feelings of distrust and suspicion can jealousy win over those who have been fed with lies, and untruths about significant people. This type of deceit causes one to lose confidence, and gain caution. In the tragic play Othello by William Shakespeare, Iago is a manipulative villain whose plan of manipulation and deception led to the ultimate demise of Othello.

Iago seeked revenge against Othello. He was Othello's supposed friend, soldier and acted as an advisor to him. However, Iago secretly hated Othello because the position of "lieutenant"(I,I,l.8) was given to "One Michael Cassio, a Florentine."(I,I,l.20) Iago resented the fact that Cassio got the position, one that he thought he rightfully deserved. He was "worth no worse a place."(I,I,l.11)

Iago was unable to accept that a "debitor and creditor,"(I,I,l.31) "arithmetician"(I,I,l.19) was the one whom Othello chose to be his lieutenant. The only reason Iago continued to "follow"(I,I,l.43) Othello was to "serve [his] turn upon him"(I,I,l.43): to take revenge. This motive of Iago's was the driving force to his plan to destroy Othello.

The plan was to make Othello believe that his wife Desdemona was being unfaithful. Iago attacked Othello's one weakness, his "soul's joy,"(II,I,l.78) Desdemona. He wanted to use Cassio as a third party and make Othello believe that he was having an affair with his wife, all to take revenge against Othello, as well as Cassio. In order to do that, he had to "abuse Othello's ear"(I,iii,l.388) with suspicions that his friend Cassio was being "too familiar with his wife."(I,iii,l.389) He chose Cassio because he was "proper"(I,iii,l.385) and "smooth,"(I,iii,l.389) he felt that Cassio...