Discuss Possible interpretations of Iago's behaviour.Refer to Iago's manipulation of the various power structures within the play.

Essay by iamweasel March 2004

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Throughout the play 'Othello' the main aim of Iago's behaviour is to bring about the downfall of Othello, due to the fact that Othello gave away the position of Lieutenant to Cassio when it was he who wanted to gain this position. Iago's behaviour is driven by his motives of revenge, vanity and envy towards Othello In order to ruin Othello Iago manipulates such power structure as the military, race and gender to undermine Othello and bring about his ultimate downfall.

One of Iago's main motives throughout the play is jealousy. He is racked with jealousy due to the fact that Othello, the general, gave away the position of lieutenant to Cassio. Iago feels that this position is rightfully his. "I know my price, I am worth no worse a place", Iago states that he feels he is worth no less a place within the military than Lieutenant. Due to his envy of Cassio and hatred towards Othello, Iago manipulates the military power structure to ruin Othello.

As Othello has the highest position of general and so is well respected and thought of by other characters. Due to this it is felt by all that Othello's decision to make Cassio general is right. Iago uses this fact to make a fool of Othello. He gets Cassio drunk whilst he is meant to be on duty; therefore Othello is made to look a fool by employing someone who is not capable of the job. This makes doubts arise in Othello's mind as to whether he made the right decision.

The power structure of race is also used throughout the play to ruin Othello. Elizabethan society, at the time that the play was written was racist. This is shown by the reaction of society to Othello, even though he is the...