If we have learnt anything throughout the course of Othello, it is that Iago is one of Shakespeare’s smartest, most reckless and sociopathic villain. However this does not stop the pondering question that perhaps if Iago would have failed to get Cassio drunk, his plan would not have been successful. Many people would like to have this sense of hope and agree with the statement. Unfortunately, if we were to take a step back and really take a look at Iago, we would realize that he would have found another evil plan to hatch. For example, looking at act 3 scene 3, which is the aftermath of Cassio’s drunken behavior, we can see that Iago could have possibly carried his plan in a different manner.
When act 3 scene 3 opens up, we see that Desdemona is begging Othello to give Cassio the time of day, and to at least talk to him before making his mind up. “Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord, if I have any grace or power to move you his present reconciliation take: for if he be not one that truly loves you, that errs in ignorance and not in cunning, I have no judgment in an honest face. I prithee, call him back.” (Act III, Scene iii, Line 45-51) Regarding the statement that had been previously made, this scene would not have taken place, as Desdemona would not have to beg for Cassio to regain his position. However, we can see that as soon as Desdemona leaves, Iago enters to work more of his dark magic, which consists mainly of manipulation. It is no secret that jealousy is a prominent theme within this play, and that Iago maximizes this weakness within the other characters to push his plan further along. That is exactly what he does next. Iago proceeds to plant the idea that Cassio and Desdemona are closer then meets the eye, into Othello’s head. It is when he does this, that the audience gets a picture of how his plan could have evolved if Cassio had not gotten drunk. Iago is working his manipulation over Othello to a whole new level in this scene. If Iago’s plan had not initially worked out as he had hoped, Iago could have just made up lies about Cassio’s relationship with Desdemona, to try and suck the inner jealousy out of Othello, just as he is seen doing in act 3 scene 3.
Iago is a master of manipulation. Whether he uses reverse psychology on Othello, or pretends to be a caring friend, he is really just manipulating the events around him. This quality within Iago is what tells us as the audience, that despite his plan working out or not, he would have still managed to get under Othello’s skin, by bringing out the smallest ounce of jealousy within Othello, and turning it into ‘a green eyed monster’.
It has been strongly argued that besides the main themes of jealousy and appearance vs reality, the theme of public vs private life also makes an appearance in Shakespeare’s Othello. This idea can be reflected through the conflict that Iago has created within Othello and Desdemona’s marriage and relationship. For example, one can wonder straight away that if Desdemona and Othello had not been so open with the details of their relationship with everyone around them, then perhaps Iago would have been able to slither his way in between the two.
“Did Michael Cassio, when you wooed my lady know of your love?”
“He did, from the first to last. Why dost thou ask?”
(Act III, Scene iii, lINE 93-96)
When Iago and Othello are talking, Iago suddenly asks Othello about Cassio’s knowledge of his and Desdemona’s relationship. Othello is very much open about this topic, and shared with Iago that Cassio was indeed aware Othello’s affection for Desdemona. This public side of Othello represents the theme of public life. However, this is not necessarily a positive aspect for Othello, as this certain conflict allows Iago to become an even more powerful antagonist, as he knows as much details about Desdemona and Othello’s relationship as he needs to. This example represents how…