Roderigo Kill Cassio
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing once said“People are not always what they seem to be”, suggesting that there can be a deeper or hidden value behind a person’s actions or appearance. Deceits are common in a world where nobody is considered to be perfect, everyone possesses bad qualities but many individuals cover their bad intentions and character with a disguise. In Shakespeare’s play, Othello, the character Iago is no different from those deceptive individuals. For a character like him, it is very easy to manipulate and deceive others. Iago is seen as an honest and wise man, but behind his mask, he is truly a deceptive and manipulative villain, fabricating chaos and causing trouble to other characters for revenge. Manipulation is a very influential force that is often driven by malice and jealousy and can cause a person to act irrationally and without contrition. As a result, this can inevitably bring out the downfall of a character.Iago is able to successfully manipulate Roderigo by exploting his love for her, Cassio, and Othello by exploiting their fatal flaws to bring about their downfall.
Roderigo was the first victim of Iago’s manipulation.Roderigo is a Venetian gentleman that was deeply in love with Desdemona, Othello’s wife. His obsession with her made him vulnerable to Iago’s manipulation as it caused him to believe anything Iago said in hopes of getting Desdemona. Iago took advantage of his relationship with Roderigo and used his naive personality for his own benefit.Iago manipulates Roderigo by conning him of his fortune, filling him with false hope, and exploiting his love for Desdemona. Initially, Iago tricked Roderigo only to have his fortune.He convinces Roderigo that the gold and jewels will be given to Desdemona declaring his love to her when in actuality, Iago plans to keep it for himself. “Thus do I ever make fool my purse” (Shakespeare, I.iii. 374). Clearly, Iago compares Roderigo to an object solely to pay him money as he continues to make false agreements. He took advantage of Roderigo’s affection to Desdemona by conning him of his fortune. Iago manipulates Roderigo into thinking that he would help him get Desdemona, but Iago does not seem interested in helping others, he just wants the best for himself. Roderigo, who is completely blinded by love is absolutely oblivious to the fact that Iago is manipulating him for his own benefit. In addition, Iago also fills Roderigo with false hope. When Desdemona is happy with Othello, Roderigo is in despair, feeling that he has lost her forever. Iago sees the weakness and motivation of Roderigo and convinces him that Desdemona’s infatuation will end as soon as she'll get bored with Othello, thus allowing Roderigo to get with Desdemona. “She’ll get bored with that old Moor” (II.i. 200) says Iago, implying that Othello will get old and Desdemona will eventually find him boring. Iago is aware that Roderigo completely trusts him and he took advantage of that trust to further his deception. Iago knows Roderigo's weakness of being dedicated to Desdemona and of his obsession of winning her, thus he exploits this weakness. With promises of reunification with Desdemona, Iago twists Roderigo's goal and weakness so he can eventually benefit. Iago later on says that the obvious first choice for Desdemona will be Cassio which fuels Roderigo’s hatred for Cassio. Iago convinces Roderigo of Cassio’s ill intentions and convinces him to start a quarrel with Cassio. Furthermore, Iago also took advantage of Roderigo’s gullible nature. Iago convinces Roderigo that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair and orders Roderigo to kill Cassio. Roderigo, being completely heartbroken is reluctant at first, he relents once Iago insists that this will win him Desdemona. Roderigo states “I have no great devotion to the deed. And yet he hath given me satisfying reasons. Tis but a man was gone. Forth, my sword: he dies” (V.i. 8-10). Clearly, gullible Roderigo falls for Iago’s deception and attempts to kill Cassio. This is significant as Iago is manipulating Roderigo kill Cassio, in return for Desdemona’s heart. Although Roderigo believes that he might get what he wants through Iago’s cunning plan. However, the only person who actually benefited from the plan was Iago himself as Roderigo had died by Iago during this execution. Also, Roderigo was truly desperate to get with Desdemona which is why he listened to Iago. Iago promised him that Desdemona will be his. Roderigo even believed Iago when he said that Desdemona and Cassio were having an affair. This indicates that Roderigo trusts Iago to the utmost extent. Roderigo is extremely gullible and devoted to Desdemona that he will believe anything Iago says in hopes of getting her. Overall, Roderigo is an instrument in Iago’s schemes, controlled by his blind desire for Desdemona. Hence, Iago exploits Roderigo’s obsession with Desdemona by deceiving and manipulating him in order to benefit himself and also to bring about the downfall of the other characters.
Cassio was another victim who was successfully manipulated by Iago. Cassio is a young and inexperienced soldier who took on the position of lieutenant. Iago, being jealous, took advantage of Cassio because he was chosen over him to become lieutenant. He capitalized on Cassio’s trusting nature by pretending to be his friend while secretly misleading him into the wrong direction. Iago manipulates Cassio by destroying his reputation, convincing him that he will get his title back, and creating a scene so he spread rumors about him. Initially, Iago pressured Cassio to drink, getting him intoxicated to cause disturbance.Iago used Cassio’s weakness of liquor to trap him into his scheme since he was aware ofCassio’s “very poor and unhappy brains for drinking” (III.ii.112). As a result, the excess amount of wine caused Cassio to get in a brawl with Montano and Roderigo. When Othello found out that Cassio had caused a fracas, Othello immediately demotes Cassio from his high-ranking position as lieutenant. Cassio losing his rank as lieutenant had fulfilled one of Iago's major goals. Iago was able maintain the facade of fake sincerity and loyalty to Cassio while at the same time deceive and plot his destruction.After Cassio was dismissed from his position, he was primarily concerned with his reputation. Iago, recognizing Cassio’s vulnerabilities and desperation to win back the position of Lieutenant, decides to give advice to Cassio. Iago advises Cassio to seek Desdemona’s help who might be able to persuade Othello to give the lieutenant position back to Cassio.
“Our general's wife is now the general: may say so in this respect, for that he hath devoted and given up himself to the contemplation, mark, and denotement of her parts and graces: confess yourself freely to her; importune her help to put you in your place again: she is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested: this broken joint between you and her husband entreat her to splinter; and, my fortunes against any lay worth naming, this crack of your love shall grow stronger than it was before.”(II.iii.235-240)said Iago to Cassio.