Iago is known as the master of cruelty in Shakespeare’s Othello. He is responsible for causing immense pain and suffering to the people around him, including his own wife, Emilia. Iago is a skilled manipulator who knows how to exploit the weaknesses of others to suit his own needs. He is a dangerous individual who should be avoided at all costs.
Othello is a tragedy about jealousy, betrayal, and deceit in the mind of a military general who thinks himself to be more intelligent than his wife. Iago stands out as one of Shakespeare’s most malevolent characters due to his profound and subtle cruelty, as well as his exceptional mental will and intellect.
As a result, his reasons are unknown; however, Iago’s kind, loyal, and honest character does not represent his real personality. He is the grand puppeteer. Every action is calculated ahead of time and used to put him forth as this trustworthy decent man. Iago has such intelligence and acting ability that he forces others to do things for him and believe what he says.
Othello, the main character, is easily duped by Iago’s facade and falls victim to his cruelty. While Othello is away at war, Iago persuades him that his wife Desdemona has been unfaithful. Othello believes Iago over his own wife and in a fit of rage, kills her.
This is the ultimate act of cruelty that Iago can bestow upon Othello. Othello has lost the one person he loved unconditionally and it is all because of Iago’s masterful manipulation. Othello then realizes he has been deceived and takes his own life, which leaves Iago as the only victor in this game of cruelty.
Iago offers deceit as a weapon, and the other characters see him as what he wants them to believe rather than who he is. Iago’s three most powerful emotional weapons are reputation, desire, and jealousy. Reputation is one of the most essential virtues in this drama’s characters’ lives. The characters’ good name keeps them in high regard in society. How one uses one’s family position influences every area of ones life. Iago takes advantage of this fact by attempting to destroy others’ reputations with illusions and lies and passing them on to people who will listen .
Othello, being the tragic hero that he is, is not perfect. He has many flaws and weaknesses. One of these is his complete trust in Iago. Othello believes every word Iago says, even when it is clear that Iago is lying. Othello’s desire for Desdemona grows into an all-consuming rage when he believes she has been unfaithful. This rage blinds him to the truth and leads him to commit terrible acts of violence. Jealousy also plays a role in Othello’s destruction.
He is jealous of Cassio because he believes Cassio has slept with Desdemona. Othello is also jealous of Iago because he believes Iago is a better man than he is. Othello’s jealousy leads him to doubt everyone and everything, which eventually leads to his undoing.
Iago is a master of cruelty because he is able to use the emotional weapons of reputation, desire and jealousy against the other characters to destroy them. Othello is the tragic hero of the play, but Iago is the true villain. His actions lead to the death of almost everyone in the play, making him one of Shakespeare’s most ruthless villains.
People trusted Iago so much that they would continuously look to him for advice, and he would take advantage of these opportunities to influence their opinions and thoughts toward others. The value of reputation and its usefulness are demonstrated by Iago when he says, “A good name in man or woman, dear my lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls. “
Othello bypasses Michael Cassio, a young and inexperienced Florentine gentleman, in favor of the more experienced Iago. This decision creates much anger and envy in Iago. Iago’s plan to take revenge is twofold. First, he will work to undermine Othello’s trust in his new lieutenant through deception and manipulation.
Second, he will destroy Othello himself by convincing him that his wife Desdemona is unfaithful. Iago’s primary motivation for revenge is Othello’s decision to make Cassio his lieutenant instead of him. This choice was based solely on race, as Othello believes that a Moorish man would be better suited to command an army of mostly black soldiers.
Iago is furious that Othello would choose Cassio based on race rather than experience and believes that he, as the more experienced soldier, deserves the promotion. Iago also resents Othello because he believes that Othello slept with his wife, Emilia, before marriage. This creates a deep sense of sexual jealousy in Iago. Iago’s anger and resentment towards Othello turn into a desire for revenge that consumes him and motivates all of his actions throughout the play.
Iago’s cruelty is most evident in his treatment of Othello. In order to take his revenge, Iago must first destroy Othello’s trust in those around him. Iago achieves this by planting false evidence and manipulating Othello’s perceptions. For example, Iago hides Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s room and then tells Othello that he saw Cassio with it. Othello is immediately suspicious and believes that his wife must be cheating on him with Cassio. Iago also takes advantage of Othello’s insecurity about his race.
Othello is constantly aware of the fact that he is different from those around him and worries that others will view him as inferior because of his skin color. Iago uses this insecurity to further convince Othello that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. He tells Othello that Cassio has been bragging about sleeping with Desdemona and that she must be interested in him because he is a “younger man”.
Othello is so blinded by jealousy and insecurity that he believes everything Iago tells him. As a result, Othello’s relationship with Desdemona deteriorates and he eventually kills her, thinking that she was cheating on him. Iago’s cruelty is also evident in his treatment of Cassio. Iago manipulates Othello into believing that Cassio is a threat and needs to be removed from his position.
As a result, Othello strips Cassio of his rank and banishes him from the army. Iago then convinces a drunken Roderigo to fight Cassio in the street. The plan goes wrong and Cassio ends up wounding Roderigo. Iago’s cruelty is most evident in his treatment of Othello, but he is also cruel to those around him, including his own wife, Emilia.
Iago wants to be lieutenant badly, but Cassio is chosen. Iago uses jealousy to engineer the ultimate downfall of the characters in Othello and especially Othello himself when he persuades Cassio, called a responsible, loyal and trustworthy individual, to abandon his night watch and go out drinking.
He eventually gets into a quarrel with another lieutenant and is found by Othello. When asked to explain the situation, Iago lies and claims that Cassio acts like this all of the time. Iago employs envy as a weapon to plan the destruction of the characters in Othello and especially Othello himself.
Iago’s cruelty is not only reserved for Othello. His wife, Emilia, is also a victim. Iago regularly mistreats her and even goads her into revealing Desdemona’s secret about the handkerchief. He does this in order to further his plan to destroy Othello.
While Shakespeare presents Iago as a cruel character, it is important to remember that Othello is ultimately responsible for his own downfall. Othello allows himself to be manipulated by Iago and falls into the trap of jealousy. This ultimately leads to the death of both Othello and Desdemona. While Iago may be the master of cruelty, Othello is the one who allows himself to be destroyed by it.