The Relationship Between Iago and Emilia
In Act 2, Scene 1 of Othello, Iago formulates his plan to drive Othello mad. down the pegs' – fiddle with the tuning keys – of their relationship. The relationship between Othello and Iago is at its most crucial in Act 3 scene 3, in which Iago convinces Othello of the affair between Cassio and Desdemona. and find homework help for other Othello questions at eNotes. Othello has supposedly humiliated Iago by appointing an inexperienced foreigner, Cassio, as his . Explain how Iago is manipulative, include specific examples and quotations.
Relationships in Othello
When Iago starts making vague suggestions of Cassio's untrustworthy nature Othello's confidence is knocked sideways very rapidly: This would point to him being more worried about his hurt pride than about the fact that she might not love him. Desdemona, unlike her husband, is not insecure, even when called a 'whore' she remains loyal to him and resolves to love him despite his misunderstanding of her; she is resolute and tenacious in the face of adversity.
Her love for Othello is unwaning: My love doth so approve him That even his stubbornness, his checks, his frowns - Prithee unpin me - have grace and favour in them. She bids Othello to do the sensible thing and ask Cassio how he obtained the handkerchief but this is too rational for Othello who has already ordered his murder.
Even as Desdemona faces her death, she asks Emilia to commend her to her 'kind lord'. She remains in love with him knowing that he is responsible for her death. In his final speech Othello claims that he was "one that loved not wisely but too well" and it is clear that his feelings regarding Desdamona were extremely passionate and overwhelming.
Whether one lays all the blame for the tragedy at Iago's door, however, or holds Othello responsible is a matter for each individual audience member as they watch the play. Iago and Emilia - An Unhappy Marriage The relationship between Iago and Emilia is not that of a strong and equal tie of love which we expect to find existing between man and wife. When she exposes his scheme he kills her without a moment's hesitation and shocks the people who witness it: She steals the handkerchief in order to make him happy and perhaps strengthen their relationship: I'll have the work ta'en out, And give't lago: Her character is somewhat tarnished by her association with Iago but she seems self-aware enough to realise that this is the case: Her remarkable courage in standing up to him to defend Desdamona in the final Act redeems her character in the eyes of the audience: I hold my peace, sir?
No I will speak as liberal as the north: Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak. Iago's murder of Emilia exposes his true nature to the world and proves conclusively that he had driven Othello to kill Desdamona. Shakespeare has apparently been at pains to show us what lago's attitude toward the Moor was, as well as what it is, and the explanation of the change can be found only in the play itself.
We must explain it either from the incidents of the play or from the words of the play, or from both. The incidents that take place at the opening of the play, at the same time as the change in the attitude of lago, are two, the courtship and marriage of Othello and Desdemona, and the promotion of Cassio to the position of lieutenant under Othello. The words of Iago at the opening of the play show that he regards the latter as an offence to himself, and therefore makes it the ground of his hostility to Othello.
He complains that Cassio has "had the election," and that, "He in good time must his [Othello's] Lieutenant be, And I bless the mark his Moorship's Ancient. At a later time he comes to see some connection between the two incidents, and believes that Cassio got the appointment because of an old friendship with Desdemona, and probably because he carried messages between Othello and Desdemona during their courtship. When Othello had occasion to appoint a lieutenant, "Three great ones of the city in personal suit" appealed to him on behalf of lago, only to find that he had already chosen Cassio.
It appeared to be a matter of personal preference only, for he could give no reason for the choice of Cassio. This capricious choice lago at once took as a very great slight upon him, and rightly so. As one of "the usual lunacies," so-called, in the interpretation of the play, however, Professor Bradley says, "It has been held, for example, that Othello treated lago abominably in preferring Cassio to him. This is the basis of the complaint of lago, and arouses at once his suspicion and bitter resentment, and soon turns him into an abiding but very stealthy enemy.
If Othello can be capable of such gross violation of all military rules and practices, lago sees that he can no longer trust Othello, and that all confidence between them has virtually ceased to exist, and no longer can he hope for the intimate relationships of former days to continue.
Shakespeare's Othello - Othello's Relationship with Iago and Iago's Motive
This rewarding of Cassio with a military position because of personal service to himself and Desdemona was a most dangerous thing for a general to do, and opened up all kinds of possibilities of trouble, not only with lago, but with the discipline of all his forces.
Only the fortune that favors fools could save him from disaster. But it was fatal when one of the disposition of lago was involved, for it turned him at once into an enemy, not only to himself, but to all the others connected with the insult, to Desdemona and Cassio, linking all three in his plan of revenge.
Here, then, is an outstanding fact that too few critics have even observed, and none have adequately explained. At this point in the lives of Othello and lago a great change comes over their relations. It cannot be too much insisted upon that up to this time they had, been the warmest and closest friends, and that lago had been in fact the confidential officer of Othello.
Now all at once, for some reason that has not been understood, lago has been turned into the bitter enemy of his old friend, Othello, and as if to mark the importance of this for the interpretation of the play, the dramatist has chosen this point in their relations for the opening scene.
But in spite of all that has been observed about the importance of Shakespeare's opening scenes for the exposition of his dramatic art, little attention has been paid to this fact in respect to Othello. The task of the critic at present, then, is to discover the cause of this great change in the relationships of these two men, and from this to trace the further development of the play.
Ever since Coleridge it has been the common thing, though by no means universal, to attribute the whole trouble to the sudden and unmotived malignity of lago, or to forget the fact that it has been sudden and unlike anything heard of before on the part of lago, and to assume only the malignity.
Later critics, however, have not been able to overlook the emergence of the malignity at this time, and have attempted to explain it from their own imaginations rather than from the words of the play. Professor Bradley may be taken as voicing the best that can be said by those who would lay all the blame of the tragedy upon lago, but who feel they must account in some manner for this sudden malignity. Not content with charging lago with the evil the play undoubtedly lays upon his shoulders, Professor Bradley suggests that lago has always been in reality a villain, and has worn his "honesty" only as a mask, which now he throws off, revealing suddenly the real villain that he is, his true nature.
He has always been, says Professor Bradley, "a thoroughly bad, cold man, who is at last tempted to let loose the forces within him. A complete criticism of the assigned motive of lago, and an attempt at the elaboration of his real state of mind must be left until after we have followed the conflict through the initial stages, when we shall be better able to judge the real merits of the case.
Sufficient reason has been found, however, for declining to admit that the drama is the story of the intrigue of lago, and as the name would intimate it is the play of Othello. There is also now justification for attempting to explain the play as in the main the tragedy of the Moor in his new home in Venice. In our attempt to find the explanation of the tragedy in the hero, as assigned by the dramatist, we seem forced to say that now at last, when a crisis comes upon him, the great Moorish general, transplanted from the wilds of his African or Spanish home into the cultured and refined life of Venice, finds himself unable to bear honorably all the great responsibilities of his high position and his new life.
It may be that the dramatist, who was a man of peace and had little admiration for the Caesars and 'other great warriors, is here taking his opportunity to show how little of the higher virtues dwells in great military ability. But the fact that he makes Othello a Moor, and so designates him throughout the play, must also be accounted for.
Explore the presentation of the relationship between Othello and Iago
Up to this time Othello had borne himself nobly in his adopted state, and had the full confidence of the people and the senate, and was universally acknowledged to be the first soldier of Venice. But at this point he fails. For once, and for the first time, he allows purely personal considerations to sway him from following the established order of preferment in the army, and does a great injustice to lago.
With no reason that he dare give, he appoints a wholly inexperienced man in preference to a tried and proven soldier who had fought under his own eyes, "At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds Christen'd and heathen. This wholly unwarranted rightly grieved lago, who took it as a great slight, for he believed he was entitled to promotion.