The responsibility of Desdemona’s death falls on many different individuals throughout the play. Othello feels that it is entirely his fault and commits suicide while Cassio, Rodrigo, Emilia, and Brabantio all contribute to Iago’s plot and Desdemona failed to save her own life.
However, one character, Iago, manipulated all of them. Othello was driven to his decision to murder his wife at no fault of his own. Instead it is Iago’s ability to persuade the other characters and manipulate them by using their weaknesses that makes him responsible for Desdemona’s death.To start off with, Othello himself is the most to blame since he was the one who physically strangled his wife.
He admits this when he says “Twas I that killed her” to Emilia at the end of the play. I feel that Othello is more responsible than Iago perhaps because even though it was Iago that had planned this all along, it was actually Othello who did the deed. It could be argued that it wasn’t really Othello’s fault because Iago drove him to it but he could have not listened or trusted his wife so in the end it was still him that did it.However, he should not have so readily believed Iago, even though he is his good friend if he really did love Desdemona.
He was pushed to believe that Desdemona was unfaithful with Cassio and halfway through the play, he had already made up his mind that he was going to kill her. He said that he was going to do it many times and planned about how to do it “I will chop her into messes” and “yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men”. He admitted this to Iago and Desdemona herself.It could be argued that Othello’s only crime was being too trustworthy, for he truly believed Iago and calls him “Honest” fifteen times through the play.
Another character that contributes the most of the murder is Iago because he was the one who had entrapped everyone in his web of lies. It is his ability to persuade that gives him so much power over everyone else. Othello believes that Iago is a good friend and trusts him above all others, including Cassio who is his lieutenant, “..
. f exceeding honest, knows all qualities, with a learned spirit” He hinted to Othello that Desdemona was unchaste and from there went on to provide “proof” of his claim, pretending the whole time that he was doing this because he “loves Othello”. Othello takes his word for it and trusts him right to the end and constantly calls him “honest Iago” Whereas really he wanted to ruin Cassio because he was angry that he got the job of being Othello’s lieutenant.He subtly starts off by asking seemingly innocent questions such as “Did Michael Cassio, when you wooed my lady [Desdemona], know of your love? ” and in doing this, he knew that Othello would pursue with further questions.
His evil planning is shown when he says “Myself the while to draw the Moor apart, and bring him jump when he may Cassio find soliciting his wife”. He is therefore also holds some “responsibility” since he was the one who drove Othello to murdering Desdemona. Without him trying to ruin things, their relationship would have most likely worked and they would have lived happily.In being responsible for Desdemona’s death, Iago is also responsible for other’s downfall, such as Cassio.
He doesn’t care how many people he effects and ruins as long as he gets his way “And I will turn her virtue into pitch and out of her goodness make the net that shall enmesh them all”. He didn’t really justify his reasons for all his doing very well at all. The only hint of reason the audience receives is that he “hates the Moor”. He is portrayed as being heartless and uncaring for anything or anyone.
With his motivation of revenge, jealousy and ambition, Iago destroys the lives, and eventually caused the death of the people who trusted him, such as Othello and Desdemona, without any show of remorse or regret. Another character who contributes towards Desdemona’s death at the end of the play is Roderigo simply because if he wasn’t so infatuated with Desdemona then Iago would have never found the chance to use him as a pawn in his catastrophic plan. Iago is fully aware of Rodrigo’s desperation to gain the love of Desdemona and he uses this knowledge to get Rodrigo’s money, and to drag Rodrigo to Cyrus to do his dirty work for him.It is shown at the start of the play when Iago is persuading Roderigo to go with him to Cyprus: “It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue/ her love to the Moor- put money in thy purse-/ nor he his to her” Iago also uses Cassio because he knows of his weakness with drink and gives the illusion that “real men drink” so that Cassio will not want to be left out.
He uses Cassio’s vanity because he knows that Cassio gets drunk easily and then the next phase of his plan comes into effect.Also, because Cassio is very proud, Iago knows that he will not stand to be insulted and so puts his plan into action by getting Roderigo anger him. Because Cassio is a true Venetian gentleman, he acts very familiar with women, without intending harm but this has been interpreted by Iago and used as more evil “proof” for Othello to see that Desdemona is unfaithful. Emilia plays a small but noticeable part in Desdemona’s death for if she had not picked up her mistress’ hanker chief, then Iago would have had his main proof.
In deceiving her Desdemona to try and please her husband, she has unwillingly also been a pawn in Iago’s wicked scheme. “My wayward husband hath a hundred times Wooed me to steal it, but she so loves the token”. Emilia doesn’t know what she is doing the moment she picked up the hanker chief but she did know that she would be deceiving Desdemona, however, she was too anxious to please Iago: “I nothing but to please his fancy. ” And so in conclusion, many different characters contributed towards the undeserving death of Desdemona, mainly Iago, but in the end, only Othello can be help solely responsible.