Although Roderigo, the rich man is the one who is in love with Iago, he hardly features in the battle to win her from Othello. This love triangle is like a trio of puppets controlled by the shadowy figure of Iago. He uses his knowledge of their real personalities to achieve his own ends. This essay will examine how manipulation and jealousy worked to destroy the main characters in this play and what they can teach us about human motivations.
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Othello spent a lot of time telling Desdemona stories about his past, but instead of bringing them closer together, these stories seem to have reinforced Othello's idea that all he is good for is soldiering. Once this is taken away from him he is eaten up with insecurities. These insecurities cause him to give credence to the wrong people and mistrust his wife. Even though Othello and Desdemona clearly spent some time talking, they clearly did not build up a relationship of trust and Iago used that to tear them apart.
This quote by Desdemona, which states that, 'In following him I follow but myself; Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, But seeming so for my peculiar end'. In this quote we can see that there was a significant amount of discourse between them. Enough of a discourse to have caused her to fall in love with him. Yet due to Othello's insecurities, they were not able to build up trust. His stories have caused her to fall in love and they have spent some time talking, they clearly did not build up a relationship of trust and Iago used that to tear them apart (Shakespeare, 2007).
Othello meanwhile, makes assumptions that Iago is helping him out of a sense of loyalty or love, with no proof as to why he should feel this way, especially considering that he gave a promotion to Cassio over him. “I am your own forever” (III.iii.482) Iago says and Othello automatically believes him. There is no reasonable basis as to his choosing to believe Iago over his own wife except for his own insecurities and jealousies and Iago's expert manipulations of the same. At the same time, Othello's blind trust in everything Iago said shows his lack of awareness of others' motivations and emotions. He is not aware that Iago does not care for him, or how Desdemona's loyalty works. This is similar to O.J Simpson who married a white woman with whom he could not get along due to his own insecurities. As a result he ended up destroying her and himself (Gilbert, 2008).
As a result of his jealousy and insecurity, he acts without thinking. He lets his emotions take over him, acting expeditiously without thought. He assumes that Cassio is dead without checking, trusting to Iago blindly and kills his wife without proof of infidelity except for a handkerchief that was last in his keeping. Othello is quick to react with extremism when provoked. His first recourse is to kill Desdemona, without so much as a comprehensive conversation to try and find out what happened (Sparknotes, 2003)
From this we can conclude that the story of Othello is a love triangle in which the emotions and reactions of the protagonists are manipulated by a fourth figure; Iago. This play demonstrates how manipulation of a person's insecurities and jealousies can be turned against them and cause them to act in predictable ways. The lesson of Othello is that action without thought can lead to unfortunate results.
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