Iago was an accomplished soldier, who fought under Othello’s command. Othello trusts everything Iago tells him; he does this because of the relationship they have developed over time. Iago selfishly abuses this position in order to turn Othello against his wife. “IAGO: O, you are well tuned now! / But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music, / As honest as I am.” (II i 193-195) Iago speaks in a disrespectful demeanor, immediately after Othello leaves. Iago compares his evil, immoral plan to a musical instrument. Iago is going to “play” Othello like a musical instrument; utilize his position to turn Othello against wife; pleasing Roderigo and earning him the position of lieutenant. Iago constructs an evil scheme to make Othello believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. Iago also exploits his wife Emilia in his evil scheme to retrieve Desdemona’s handkerchief, an instrument of his plan. This evil scheme will, in theory, break up Desdemona and Othello, thus pleasing Roderigo, and leaving Iago to be promoted to lieutenant. Iago’s selfishness causes him to betray Othello, who trusted him dearly. The betrayal of Othello, Desdemona and Emilia contributes to the downfall of Othello.
The downfall of Othello, the tragic hero, is only possible as a result of Iago’s selfish nature and betrayal. Othello relies on his trusted advisor more than is favourable. When Iago was trying to convince Othello that Desdemona and Cassio were having an affair, Othello knew Desdemona would never do such a thing. Othello chose to believe Iago’s deceptive scheme instead of trusting his instincts, which leads to his tragic downfall; thus deeming him the tragic hero.
OTHELLO: Then must you