, Research Paper
In his analysis of the popular Shakespearean play Othello, Tale of the Moor of Venice, Champion focuses most of his criticism on Othello s naive ways and the evil, which Iago portrays. According to Champion, Othello is heroic and noble, but naively egotistic. (253) This is shown when Othello easily believes Iago s foolish lies about Desdemona s infidelity with Othello s true and loyal friend Cassio. He also states that Othello s tunnel-vision idealism, based on conceptions of his own magnanimous forthrightness and self-importance, (235) is what made Othello susceptible to influences and schemes of evil intent by individuals. One can clearly see these flaws in Othello when Iago pours lies into his head about Desdemona and Cassio. In the scene where Desdemona and Cassio innocently exchange words about Othello s recent behavior towards Cassio, Iago takes total control of Othello s thoughts due to the fact that Othello has entered into power but thinks that everyone still sees him as just a moor, who was a slave. Iago used Othello s Insecurities against him to control him. Champion goes on to describe Iago as a totally single dimensional creature of calculated self-control…and gives the appearance…of credible and intriguing character development. (253) As the play opens, Iago is shown manipulating Rodrigo into informing Brabantio of Desdemona s secret marriage with Othello. After Rodrigo informs Brabantio of Desdemona s location, Iago runs to Othello and acts like his best friend and informs him that another has conspired to ruin Othello s honeymoon. When Brabantio confronts Othello, Iago takes his place as Othello s one and only loyal friend who is ready to fight for Othello s happiness. This is the best part to show how a man, like Iago, can quickly change faces and sides to best suit his goals and schemes. Through out the whole play Iago s actions show that he is able to show different faces to different people, making them all believe that he is honest and a dear friend.
In my opinion, Champion is able to describe Iago and Othello exactly the way the play sought to portray them, Iago as a great and evil manipulator and Othello as the heroic tragic hero, innocent, but naive, proud, but single-minded. Iago s manipulatory nature is shown to us all through out the first act, when in scene I he conspires with Roderigo to rave up Brabantio into confronting Othello s secret marriage to his daughter. Then in scene II after provoking Brabantio, using his love for his daughter against him, leaving Roderigo to side with Othello, offering him Brabantio s intent, even though it was provoked by himself. Even though that didn t work he is able to get himself in a better position to further inflict harm, and confusion between Othello, Desdemona, and Cassio. when after the senate meeting Othello leaves Desdemona in his care, referring to him as Honest Iago. (I., ii, 1322) Iago states his discuss for Othello and his intent in the play s opening:
though I do hate him as I do hell pains, Yet for necessity of present life
I must show our a flag and sign of love (I, i, 1309)
This shows that, even though Iago hates Othello, he is prepared to use Othello to further his own goals. Iago also states is intent in act II scene 1 when in conversation with Roderigo he says:
I ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip, abuse him to the moor…..make the moor thank me, love me, reward me, for making him egregiously an ass….and practicing upon his peace and quite even to madness. (II, i, 1333)
Othello shows his naive-ness in act III scene iii when from a distance he and Iago witness Cassio leaving Desdemona, and instead of talking to his wife he listens to Iago instead. Iago with malicious intent uses this opportunity to implant the idea of Cassio trying to steal Desdemona from Othello, in order to spark rage, anger, and jealousy in Othello, setting the change of events that lead to the tragic end of the play.
In all Shakespeare creates one of the greatest fictional villains ever. The maliciousness and manipulatory ways of Iago leads him to almost get away with the systematic murder of four people. As well as turning the noble Othello into an creature so blinded my jealousy, and self-doubt, he would kill the woman he loved. The only thing that got Iago caught was his own greed.