May 8, 2015
Othello; power through manipulation essay Power can be thought of in many different forms. There is electrical power, horse power, power through a position or even just physical power or strength. Among the most influential forms of power is power gained by manipulation because the victims have no clue that anyone has power over them. In the case of Othello: The Moor of Venice, power through manipulation is very prominent. Iago exploits the weaknesses of everyone around him to manipulate them into helping him achieve his ultimate goal of utter destruction. Iago is constantly deceiving people throughout the play. Whether it is minor seemingly meaningless dishonesty or major deception, Iago never stops. Within the first few pages of the play it can be seen. I 1.1 Iago is manipulating Barbantio ever so slightly a person would probably not catch it upon the first reading of the play. Here Iago is implying that Othello had stolen Desdemona. Iago did this knowing the trouble that it would cause, trying to undermine Othello. He does this very subtly not to give up his true motive. Although everyone thinks he was there to alert Barbantio to the fact that his daughter had gotten married without his knowledge, he was really there to stir the pot. The more a person thinks about this shows how truly crafty Iago is. Barbantio, who once accepted Othello into his home for many years, has completely turned against his friend in a matter of minutes of talking to Iago.
The very first thing that Iago says in 1.2.1-5 is completely contradictory to his actions in scene 1. He tells Othello how Barbantio spoke poorly of Othello and says that he could almost not restrain himself from killing Barbantio. For some reason he seemed to have forgot the part where he was the one that told Barbantio of the marriage in the first place. This is manipulating Othello into believing that Iago is a loyal friend that stood up for him not only by his spoken lies but what he is not saying,. Especially when he “tries” to get Othello to go inside to make it seem as if he is looking out for him in 1.2.29. “Those are the raised father and his friends. You best go inside”. This could also be taken as a failed attempt to make Othello seem guilty by fleeing the confrontation. No matter his actual intent, it is still purely done to manipulate Othello into trusting him. Skipping ahead to 2.2.3 is one of Iago’s more complex manipulations. Line 30 is where he reveals his plot to get Cassio and some of the more influential people of Venice drunk so that they will have a physical conflict. This would take some serious effort to get all of these people drunk and figure out which ones are aggravated easily. Once again this will contribute to his overall plot by lessening the appearance of Cassio in Othello’s mind. This later aids him in convincing him that Cassio is cheating with Desdemona. But it takes more than just lies to get husbands to turn on their wives.
By far, Roderigo is the easiest person for Iago to manipulate. It does not take much effort for him to convince the dimwitted Roderigo to aid him in his journey. Although Roderigo sees how Iago manipulates everyone around him, he does not figure out he is being bamboozled until 4.3.181. After being fooled by him and figuring it out, Roderigo falls back under the Iago’s spell after he strategically places some compliments to play on Roderigo’s weakness of not being the sharpest to tool in the tool shed. In fact, he is about as shape as a bowling ball. But nevertheless, only the master of manipulation, Iago, could weasel his way out of being caught. Even his own wife does not suspect him of anything and even unknowingly plays a major role in his plot. She does not have a very good marriage with Iago since he shows her his true colors a little more. Trying to please him, she gives Desdemona’s handkerchief to him in 3.3.321. Even where Iago is most sloppy in showing his true self,