Iago's Reputation In Othello

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In Shakespeare’s play, Othello, Iago’s reputation played an important role. Iago knows very well that reputation means everything to Othello and Cassio and he uses this knowledge to plot a sequence of catastrophic events to ruin their reputation. He ruins theirs and builds up his in order to be "trustworthy" enough to carry out his plan. All the characters think Iago is an “honest man” but in reality he is the complete opposite. By analyzing how Iago claims to be someone he’s not, it is clear that he has no honor. Iago pretends to be someone he 's not and uses his admirable reputation to commit dishonorable acts against the characters. Unlike Othello and Cassio, Iago believes reputation has no importance. According to him, “Reputation is an …show more content…
According to Harold Bloom, “Iago manipulates as he chooses, but he knows that he his negative greatness achieves apotheosis only by manipulating the fall of his mortal God, Othello”(Harold Bloom, 25). In other words, Iago’s manipulation reaches its climax when he manipulates Othello into his downfall. When Iago spots Cassio and Desdemona together he right away assumed they were together but they were just friends. He made a simple, innocent act look like a bad one. Iago told Othello this and his downfall began. Iago also tells Othello that he heard Cassio dreaming of Desdemona and gives him very vivid description of the dream. He tells him that Cassio in the dream says “ Sweet Desdemona let us be wary, let us hide our love” (III.III.428-429). In other words, Iago is telling Othello that in the dream, Cassio told Desdemona to be cautious, and not let others find out about their love. After Iago made just a dream look very suspicious, this put everything in place for Othello. After this so called dream, Othello believed Desdemona actually slept with Cassio. This dream was the missing ingredient to implant Othello’s want to kill Cassio and Desdemona. His want for revenge stays with him for the rest of the play and this is his tragic flaw. According to Bloom, “Othello’s great weakness, as he understands it, is precisely that he does not …show more content…
What would Othello be without him? By having a character like Iago, Shakespeare portrays how powerless a person can become when a series of twisted thoughts infect the mind. Anne Marie states that “Iago 's manipulation of Othello, if it were not so evil, could be seen as a magnificent accomplishment. Iago is so clever, quick, and thorough in his scheme one cannot help but admit his intelligence. He is the only one who recognizes Othello 's weakness and single-handedly brings the great Othello down” (660). I completely agree with her, even though he has no honor, Iago is very smart, the way he can just get in a person’s mind and manipulate them until their downfall is clever and requires a lot of thinking. He makes getting into peoples minds that deep seem so easy. Iago got to know each and every characters flaw and their weakness, he is an example of a man with an intelligent, and impressive brain gone bad. He brings Othello into his downfall by just messing with his head. From this it is implied that words and the way a person uses them is the biggest weapon. She also states that “Shakespeare points out how vulnerable people can be. By stirring their emotions, a wickedly smart person can manipulate other people to do almost anything he or she wants them to do. The play might be said to serve as a warning to guard one 's heart and head against the manipulations of a person like Iago” (660).

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