The term “dolt”, is an explicit word to be used for one who misinterprets another’s motives. But for one with such an immense sense of authority such as Othello, can one really say much about him, that he is a mere “dolt” as Emilia calls him in Act V? The mentality and destructive ability of manipulating, is one of the key practices which Iago uses in his many strategy’s to arrest Othello’s mind, in order to acquire his attention. Othello’s naivety is just one of the factors which allows Iago to pervert his mind further.However, in Act III Scene 3, Iago himself states, “Men should be what they seem. ” Hitherto, it is ironic of him to say so, for he then continues with “Or those that be not, would they might seem none! “, for this is the precise quotation that one should put forward to describe the deceitful and hypocritical Iago. On the contrary, Othello’s foreign origin and insecurity are keys to his apprehensions.
Nonetheless, during Act III Scene 4, Iago has already begun to devise his heinous plan, in order to diminish Othello.Othello’s lack of knowledge about Venetian people (primarily women), is something which Iago has knowledge of, and which he uses in a Machiavellian way. His origin is that of Africa, which ties in with his insecurity, as he may think aside to himself, “I’m not of Venetian origin, yet Iago is.
So how do I know whether these women are tainted or not? ” These very thoughts could raise his doubts towards his belief of whether Desdemona is deceiving him or not. The women in Venice were described as goats, monkeys and wolves by Iago, as these animals were considered as very sexed by the people at that period of time.Moreover, the quotes about women and Sexual Intercourse that are uttered from Iago’s mouth, implies that he has a very animalized view of Sex, and barbaric views about women which places him in the misogynist category. At one stage in the play, he tells Othello that Venetian women are not what they seem. They are like animals, moving from one man to another, when they are sated from his body.
Furthermore, he speaks in innuendo, yet he does not intend to say what he means to, which makes Othello evermore hungry and obsessive to hear Iago’s very thoughts. This is what makes him insinuating.Because of his incredible skill of manipulating, Iago can hone in on ones weaknesses, which in Othello’s case he quickly figures out that it is jealousy.
In fact, Othello in his proprietarily attitude to his wife, was only too typical of men in his time. Even now, many men are the same. In addition, because of Iago’s utter dislike towards his general, it gradually drove him to accomplish his motives and to fulfill his desires all the more.”I hate him as I do hells pains”, he admits.
Iago acknowledges that Othello is dignified, and his marriage with Desdemona will be fruitful, but save for the fact that he is righteous, he still resents him. Twixt my sheets… office”, says Iago in Act I Scene 2, meaning that he thinks Othello has slept with his wife. Until now, from the perspective of the audience, they all know that this is a false accusation, as he himself knows that he is lying. Nonetheless, these thoughts encourage him to obliterate Othello, and those who stand by him.
Thus far, it is interesting how from being such an eloquent and respectful man towards women, Othello develops the same views and theories about women as Iago does. In Act IV Scene 2, he refers to Desdemona as a “strumpet” and a “whore”, which he never did when Iago hadn’t usurped his thoughts.Of course, one factor shared by both Iago and Othello, is that they are both soldiers and they may share a similar sexist view of women. Iago simply brings out a latent view of women, which brings out the word jealousy to the surface of Othello’s mind. In Act IV Scene 2, he looks into Desdemona’s eyes like one would do in a brothel, which was never a negative aspect of Othello, as he simply did not have any.
The way in which he gradually develops a sense of doubt and suspicion towards Desdemona, is present from Act III onwards, as he begins to talk in obscenities about her which was not at hand between Act’s II and I.Besides the fact that Othello is conscious of his origin, he has no experience of women, nor does Desdemona have experience of a husband. Both are new to the life commitment aspect, yet this is why their minds are so easily intruded by stereotypical theories about both sexes, although in some cases they may be quiet true, especially in a patriarchal society.
Just as Othello trusts his companions, he also trusts his wife, and deems her honest as he does with Iago.In Act I Scene 3, Brabantio, (Desdemona’s father), says the following, “Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: She has deceived her father, and may thee. This quote from Brabantio may also have contributed to the break up of Othello’s state of mind. In addition, Desdemona constantly reminds Othello of Cassio’s dismissal after he fires him, but she is only destroying his faith in her. Desdemona means no harm, yet the organization of Iago’s plan and her lack of experience with men, makes Iago’s plan fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
As Iago speaks to him, consistently reminding him of Desdemona and her unfaithfulness, the only way Othello can think of her now is by being brutally direct in describing her in his imagination, with thoughts of perjury and acts of immoral behavior.This is in Act IV, where the torments of pure jealousy begin. Throughout the play, his character disintegrates to such an extent, that at some stage in the play he has a fit. From an admirable speaker that captivates one’s imagination, his speech disintegrates into nothing but stutters and words of disbelief or perplexity, instead of words of nobleness that he once spoke of. For example, he shouts “O misery! ” in Act III Scene 3. His interjections were usually long and complicated once before the chaos had intervened with his good fortune, and he would face the problem head on.Nevertheless, all that comes out of his mouth from Act III onwards are scarce interjections, and speeches of detestation and jealousy. The key to Othello is his eloquence.
All he has to do is say a few words such as, “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them”, and the men involved in the brawl would obey his command. Furthermore, when he was summoned by the senate, his explanation of how Desdemona fell in love with him, simply magnetized his audience. As one of the members of the senate said himself, even his daughter would have been beguiled by Othello’s powerful way of speech.However, the balance of power in the play between Iago and Othello really turns around. The eloquence of the once dominant Othello completely disappears.
Iago takes on the long speeches that Othello once did, and Othello himself loses that sense of authority that was once part of him. At some point in Act IV Scene 3, Othello conceals himself, so that Cassio is not be able to see him. What Othello is not aware of, is that Iago planned this meeting with Cassio, so that Othello is mistaken that they are talking about Cassio’s affair with Desdemona.Upon his arrival, Iago brings up the subject of Bianca the prostitute, who has a good relationship with Cassio. Iago mentions Bianca’s name in a hushed whisper, and talks aloud of their relationship. Like a bird attracted to bread, Othello takes the bait, and thinks that Cassio is talking of Desdemona. Moreover, with the characteristics of one such as Othello, it is not widely common for him to hide behind a curtain, like a group of children playing hide and seek.
He stood as tall as an obelisk, but as the play progresses, the foundations crumble, and fall away as he becomes more paranoid.In conclusion, Othello’s nobility had somewhat lead to his own demise. Iago knew very well, that Othello was of an open and honest nature. But for some peculiar reason, this urged him even more to destroy him.
Iago yearned to be Othello’s lieutenant, but Michael Cassio was given the place instead, which created a grudge between them all. Othello’s lack of experience and naivety also contributed to his downfall. He trusted those he worked with immensely, and respected and honored them.
But he should have been conscious, of the precarious ambition of some.After all, he was forever referred to as the “Moor” by Iago, though he never dared to declare it to him openly. Venice at that time was racist, so just because he was the General of the Army gave him no reason to think that all thoughts of race were eradicated. Everything revolved around the women, yet they had no part in any mischief at all. It was but Othello’s own goodness that left the idea of jealousy and murder behind, because he thought it was not possible. After all, Iago was always seen as “honest”, so who would have thought it.