Desdemona's Death

Shakespeare’s Othello portrays a story of jealousy and deception, and forces the reader to consider where the fault lies for Desdemona’s death. Was it as it may seem, Othello’s fault as he was the person that committed the murder, or was it Iago doing, for misleading Othello into a blinding rage. The themes of jealousy and dishonesty are evident throughout the play. Iago, who is placed under Othello and should show respect to Othello is deceitful from the very start.

Right when Othello is getting married to Desdemona Iago is doing everything he can to stir up trouble to negatively affect Othello. Iago, who is at Brabantio’s house, is waking him in the middle of the night to informing him that his daughter had been stolen; “Brabantio! thieves! thieves! thieves! Look to your house, your daughter and your bags! ” It is evident right from the start the Iago has it out for Othello and is going to make life hard for him.

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Another time where Iago acts in a way to get Othello into a bad situation is when Iago is trying to suggest that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him;” She did deceive her father, marrying you” At this stage Othello does not suspect anything at all as he has just gotten married to her and has no proof of any misdoings on her part. Since Iago is Othello’s right hand man, and Othello has no idea that Iago is out to get him, he does take heed from his advice and is cautious towards her, considering whether it was possible that she has been unfaithful.

At this time in the play, Othello is still acting in and honourable and he decent from this stage is matched by his change in view towards Desdemona. Although Iago is upset about not getting the promotion, he creates a larger reason for why he must try to destroy Othello. For the reader, this could be seen as a moment that makes is Iago’s fault for Desdemona’s death as this is where he states that he is going to do anything he can to get back at Othello for having an affair with Emilia;” that ‘twixt my sheets, He has done my office: I know not if’t be true; But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety”.

Iago says he doesn’t exactly know if the rumour’s true, but he’s decided to go ahead and ruin Othello’s life anyway. Iago has listed a couple of fictional motives for seeking to destroy Othello. Iago is not jealous of Othello’s supposed relationship with Emilia; he just makes this up to create a reason for why he is going to do what he does. Othello goes through a radical change from being confident and loving his wife to being angry, whilst feeling betrayed and having a new found hatred towards Desdemona.

Othello says that he is “rude” in speech but contradicts himself by giving a long and very convincing speech about how he won Desdemona’s heart with his life stories. He may have stated that his speaking abilities were below par, but he doesn’t really believe that he is worse than anyone else. After Iago has influenced Othello into suspecting his wife, he starts to believe what he had previously thought to be untrue, that he is indeed lacking “Those soft parts of speech- that chamberers have”.

More evidence of Othello’s change is that in this speech Othello calls negative attention to his race and age, something that only Iago had done previously. In concluding his speech, Othello states that Desdemona is “Gone”. This shows the power of Iago’s insinuations about Cassio and Desdemona. Over the course of about a hundred lines, Othello goes from believing that his relationship with his wife is fine, to believing that what has happened to him is “like death”.

This change is seen to be brought on by Othello’s jealous nature being taunted and pushed to the edge by Iago’s insinuations. To conclude, all the evidence shows that it was Iago’s deception and dishonesty that turned Othello, forcing him to kill Desdemona. This may force the reader to look past the fact that it was Othello that killed his wife without having actual proof of any misdoings. In the end Iago was able to work on one personality flaw that Othello had to turn him into the “green eyed monster” that ultimately led to his demise.