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Othello and Iago: Actions and their Consequences

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In society, there are many people who made bad choices because of their own influences or because of another person’s influences. Some people do not know if they made the right choice without finding out what is going to happen after. For example, a driver does not know if it is right to run a red light before they get into a car crash or be fined. Most drivers know that it is wrong to run a red light, but some still do it. Some of those drivers will learn to not run a red light after they get punished for their decision. In society, people will often learn after they know what has happened. Sometimes, it is obvious that the character in a story made the bad decision after the audience or the character himself knows what happened. It is not always easy for a person to make the right decision. People are often faced conflicts because of difficult decisions that they have to make throughout their lives. Some people will get the help from other people to make their decisions. These decisions may either be good or bad. It is important to not rely on another person for all life choices because not all decisions are necessarily good. People should think before they act, meaning that they should make a decision based on what they think, what others think, and what is right to do. In Shakespeare’s story, Othello, Othello is considered a tragic hero because of his tragic flaws. Othello makes a bad decision based on what another character, Iago, has told him.

In the beginning of the story, Iago states to the audience in his first soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 3 how he is going to use Othello for his own benefits. He states how he actually hates Othello on the inside. He calls Othello, the Moor, to show the dichotomy of black and white. “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.” (Act 1 Scene 3 Line 407) Iago and the audience knows that Othello is the fool because of how Othello is not able to determine true character. When Iago refers to his purse, he is referring to how he is planning to benefit from Othello. “I hate the Moor…” (Act 1 Scene 3 Line 410) The audience is able to learn from Iago’s first soliloquy on how he is going to use Othello in order to gain advantage for himself. The audience knows that Iago does not truly like Othello. People in society often use other people for money or intelligence, not out of true love. That is what Iago is going to do without letting the characters of the story know. The audience is able to see how Iago’s evilness is starting to develop.

In Act 2 Scene 1, Iago starts to develop another plan to hurt Othello. The audience is able to learn from his second soliloquy how he is planning to ruin Othello’s relationship with his wife, Desdemona. “Abuse him to the Moor…” (Act 2 Scene 1 Lines 326-331) The audience is able to learn how Iago is going to get Cassio involved in his plans in order to make them come true. Iago plans to get him to a closer relationship to Othello to make him trustworthy to Othello. “Tis here…” (Act 2 Scene 1 Lines 331-332) Iago wants to be friends with Othello, but as seen from Act 1, it is not because he truly wants to be friends with him. The audience continues to learn from Iago’s second soliloquy how Iago’s plans are developing and will be in action.

From the dialogue at the end of Act 2 Scene 3, the audience is able to learn Iago’s cleverness behind his evilness. “What wound…” (Act 2 Scene 3 Lines 374-376) Iago knows how his plan will slowly come true when he has patience. For most of the time, it is often worth it when people have patience. For example, a passenger waiting at the airport for his flight will get to somewhere good at the end. People often have to wait for a certain amount of time in order for their dreams to come true, such as buying a bigger house. “Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe.” (Act 2 Scene 3 Line 380) The audience will see how Iago will slowly let his plan work out. Iago’s cleverness tells him that good plans takes time to work out. People have to think their ideas carefully before coming up to a conclusion. The audience is able to see how Iago is clever in his mind, even though he is evil. In society, evil people are sometimes clever. They do not use their intelligence for good. Just like Iago, they use their intelligence to try to destroy other people. This is often because of bad influences from other people.

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In Act 3, Iago’s plan is officially in action. Iago uses his words that affects Othello mentally. The audience knows that Iago is not telling the truth because Desdemona is epitome of purity. The audience is able to see that Desdemona is a kind and loving woman who would not cheat on her husband. Othello gets the wrong idea by believing what Iago said, which shows the epitome of good and evil. Othello believes that Iago is good and Desdemona is evil when the opposite is true. In Othello’s first soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 3, the audience is able to see dramatic irony in which Othello is believing in an evil person, who Othello thinks is honest. “This fellow’s of exceeding honesty…” (Act 3 Scene 3 Lines 292-294) This demonstrates Othello’s first tragic flaw, where he cannot see the truth of Iago. Because of Othello believing that Iago is honest, the audience will be able to see how he will be making a bad decision. “If I do prove her haggard…” (Act 3 Scene 3 Lines 294-297) The audience sees how Othello is being affected by Iago’s words. Before, Othello was happy with Desdemona. After listening to Iago, he does not trust Desdemona anymore. He becomes suspicious on something that is false. “Haply, for I am black…” (Act 3 Scene 3 Lines 297-300) Now, Othello thinks that Desdemona will cheat on him because he is black, which shows the dichotomy of black and white.

In Othello’s second soliloquy of Act 5 Scene 2, Othello plans to kill Desdemona if she does not admit the truth, which shows his second tragic flaw of hubris. The audience knows that there was nothing for her to admit because she is the epitome of honesty and purity. However, Othello continues to believe what Iago told him based on what he saw in the conversation between Cassio and Iago. Iago was secretly using Cassio by telling his wife, Emilia, to steal the handkerchief and giving it to him and by pretending they were talking about Desdemona when they were actually talking about Bianca, Cassio’s wife. The handkerchief represents an important part of Othello and Desdemona because it was the first gift that Othello gave to her. The audience sees how Iago used Emilia to help him prove to Othello that Cassio was with Desdemona. “Yet she must die…” (Act 5 Scene 2 Lines 6-7) Othello does not take the time to talk with Desdemona privately to see if it was true. Othello pretends to be god and control the forces of nature. He wants to kill Desdemona for lying. In society, when people lie, it often leads to something worse as the lie gradually develops. It makes people feel guilty and end up admitting the truth. “But once put out thy light…” (Act 5 Scene 2 Lines 10-13) Othello is pretending to be Promethean, which shows how he is really mentally affected. In society, people often get what they deserve based on their actions. The audience is able to see how Othello wants karma to happen to Desdemona for cheating on him. Othello wants to pretend to be god in order to for Desdemona to deserve what she gets.

Shakespeare makes the connection of this story to Sonnet 147, comparing love as a sickness. “My love is as a fever, longing still.” (Sonnet 147 Line 1) Comparing to Othello, the audience sees how he gets mentally affected because of love. The image of Desdemona being with Cassio gets stuck in his mind after Iago’s evil words. Because Othello got sick from what Iago has told him, the audience sees how Iago’s plan was successful. Iago is not truly loyal to Othello, which could be learned from Iago’s soliloquies. “Past cure I am, now reason is past care,…” (Sonnet 147 Line 9) Unlike Othello, the speaker of Sonnet 147 gains his epitome that love is just as it is. The speaker is cured when he understands what love truly is. Othello does not get cured and continues to be affected until he makes his final decision of killing Desdemona. In the rhyming couplet of Sonnet 147, the speaker understands the truth about love. “For I have sworn…” (Sonnet 147 Lines 13-14) Just like what Othello sees, Desdemona was beautiful to him at first, but then she seemed evil to him after. The speaker of Sonnet 147 and Othello has the same feeling for love, but Othello does not get cured because of hubris and his character judgement while the speaker of Sonnet 147 understands the truth about what love really is.

Based on Othello’s actions and decisions, the audience is able to see how Othello is the definition of a tragic hero by Aristotle. Othello is considered the powerful leader in the story, but makes a bad decision from extreme confidence and fear. He feels that killing Desdemona is the best choice because of her actions. However, Othello believed false information. After he found out that Iago was lying to him, he regrets the decision that he made and decides to kill himself. In the end of the story, everybody dies besides Iago. Iago is the person who is supposed to die because of his evil mind and actions. However, Cassio and Desdemona dies for being loyal to Othello, making this story a tragedy. The audience sees how tension starts to rise after Iago makes his plan. The characters of the story help make his story a tragedy. Othello does not find out the truth himself and believes what Iago shows him and tells him. Cassio goes along with Iago and talks happily about Bianca when Othello was hiding, which was ordered by Iago. Emilia find the handkerchief and does not tell Othello or Desdemona. The audience is able to learn from this tragic story to not believe everything other people say, not to rely on other people for everything, and not believe that they are right at everything.

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Othello and Iago: Actions and their Consequences. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from
“Othello and Iago: Actions and their Consequences.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
Othello and Iago: Actions and their Consequences. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Dec. 2022].
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