Othello Essay “To what extent is manipulation central to the play as a whole? ” Even though the play is called “Othello” and what Othello does is central to the play, Iago is the character that causes the action within the play written by William Shakespeare. Iago is the character who manipulates others to further the action in this play to make it intriguing for the reader or audience. Manipulation is central to this play as a whole because it is what Iago uses to get his revenge and what furthers Othello’s downfall.
Iago uses his expert judgement skills to manipulate gullible Roderigo, jealous Othello and he also manipulates the use of language to get his revenge on Othello. Othello is a high general in the service of Venice who promotes Michael Cassio to the position of lieutenant and Iago is jealous of this. Iago begins plotting an evil scheme to get his revenge against Othello. Iago manipulates characters in the play to get Othello to think Desdemona is cuckolding him and Othello becomes jealous and suspicious of her.
All this leads to Othello murdering Desdemona and the deaths of Emilia and Roderigo. Othello ends up killing himself after finding out Iago is at fault. Iago uses manipulation to betray Roderigo, Cassio and Othello to benefit himself. Iago is a good judgement of character so he knows that Roderigo is gullible so he uses that to his advantage. When he finds out that Roderigo is in love with Desdemona he manipulates him into thinking that Othello is not the one for Desdemona and that she would be better off with her.
Iago plants thoughts into Roderigo’s head that Cassio and Desdemona are fond of each other which causes him to go after Cassio saying, “First I must tell thee this: Desdemona is directly in love with him” and “”That Cassio loves her, I do well believe it; That she loves him, tis apt and of great credit. ” Iago then manipulates Roderigo into picking a fight with Cassio whilst he is drunk so that Othello would fire him as his lieutenant. Iago doesn’t care who dies because in the end it will all benefit him. “Now, whether he kill Cassio, Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, Every way makes my gain. Iago used Roderigo for his dirty work so that he would not betray his front as “Honest Iago. ” He needed a way to execute his plan in getting his revenge against Othello without being caught, and he used Roderigo’s love for Desdemona and his foolishness to do so. When he didn’t need Roderigo anymore Iago betrayed him by killing him. Iago is a clever man. He is able to analyse other people’s weaknesses. He knows that Othello, who is not easily jealous can let his passion get the best of him once he gets suspicious.
Thus Iago plants this suspicion into Othello’s head little by little by making comments and by supplying “evidence” when needed. Iago knew that Othello trusted him with his life. He misused this trust by pretending to be a loyal friend giving good advice. Iago makes Othello believe that Cassio talked about Desdemona when he was actually talking about his sexual relationship with Bianca. He says, “ Bade him anon return and here speak with me, The which he promised. ” Othello thinks Iago is going to convince Cassio to talk about Desdemona but he is actually talking about Bianca. Now will I question Cassio of Bianca…” Iago uses Othello’s jealousy to let him come to the wrong conclusion himself, Othello let his passion get the best of him which led to his downfall. He got so jealous that he ended up killing Desdemona who was supposed to be his lover. Iago manipulates the use of language throughout the play. Iago uses bestial language to manipulate others, he roused up Brabantio by saying, “An old black ram is tupping your white ewe. ” We see this through the change of language that Othello uses.
The first sign we see of Othello’s downfall is the language that he uses at the end of the play. In the beginning Othello is well spoken and confident, “Keep up your bright swords for the dew will rust them. ” He also describes Desdemona lovingly and refers to her with heavenly imagery, “Vouch with me, heaven. ” But towards the end of the play Othello’s language changes completely. He starts speaking like Iago and using bestial language, “Goats and Monkeys! ” He also refers to Desdemona with hellish imagery saying, “For here’s a young and sweating devil here/That commonly rebels. Instead of describing Desdemona in a heavenly way like he did in the beginning of the play he uses hellish imagery, he no feels like he cannot trust Desdemona anymore. Iago has poisoned Othello’s mind with his words and because of his manipulation and lies Othello is so distraught and confused that he makes up his mind that he is going to kill Desdemona, “else she may betray more men. ” This is unlike the Othello we read about in the beginning of the text, the one that loved Desdemona and spoke kind words.
This is all due to Iago’s manipulative ways. Iago is the cause of action in “Othello,” he uses his manipulative ways to get his revenge on Othello and it causes his downfall. Manipulation is key to “Othello” because it is what Iago uses to create action in the play to make it intriguing to the readers or viewers. He manipulates characters in the play to get his revenge and cause Othello’s downfall. He manipulates Roderigo, jealous Othello and manipulates the language that Othello uses that shows the change in Othello.