Othello is a Moor, a dark-skinned man from Africa and is general in army of Venice. Though Othello is an outsider to Venice and does not belong to its culture and race, still he has commanded immense respect and position for himself in Venetian civic society. His refines skills as soldier and leader has earned him this reputation. As apparent from Cassio’s statement that [the senate sent three several quests to look for Othello (l.ii.46). 127–129). Othello also captivates his peers with his oratory skills. Upon inquiring Othello that how he wooed Desdemona, duke remarks to Othello’s speech is [I think this tale would win my daughter too (I.iii.170)].
Othello occasionally present himself as a foreigner, probably as he is aware of his exotic appeal or because of the reason that he is conscious of and self-protective about his dissimilarity from other Venetians. Despite his apparent articulacy in Act I, scene iii, he remonstrates, [Rude am I in my speech, / And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace” (I.iii.81–82)]. While Othello is never rude in his speech, his eloquence definitely suffers because of the emotional strain experienced by him, consequent to Iago’s plots. During play’s final moment, Othello regains his equanimity and, again, impresses his audiences with his words. The speech that paves the way to his suicide is a tale that could entice everyone. It is the tension between Othello’s unfair treatment due to foreign culture and his own compliance to torture himself that makes him a disastrous figure rather than Iago’s ludicrous marionette.
Othello’s quality of being honest and naïve is reflected throughout the play and the tendency to trust the people surrounding him and consider them honest also plays an important role in making the Iago’s plot successful.
Iago is the sword-bearer of Othello and his evil nature and hatred for Othello springs out when he was not made lieutenant. He devise Othello’s tragic end due to malicious revenue and cunningly uses Othello’s faith in him to prove Desdemona unfaithful to Othello. Iago, in his attempt to justify his ill intensions about Othello and his lust towards Desdemona states that [it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets/ He has done my office (l.iii.369-370)] Othello has slept with his wife Emilia and this is the reason Iago lusts after Desdemona. Iago has exhibit immense talent of comprehending and manipulating the wishes of people around him to serve his own purpose. Iago through his web of lie has beautifully brought out the trait which is very strongly displayed and is an impeccable component of every character in this play, trust. Everyone trust everything said by the other character which at the end leads to such tragedy. The evil nature of Iago has earned him the best name among all the plays of Shakespeare.
Upon comparison of Othello and Iago, one could draw several similarities also and it has been stated by many researchers that Iago is the dark side of Othello[ CITATION Mau69 \l 1033 ]. Both Othello and Iago are outsiders to Venice, both have jealousy; both are driven by revenge and eventually kill their wives. However, the prime motive of their revenge was to victimize Desdemona. It can be easily stated that “the two main characters, Othello and Iago exemplify opposing principles which together constitutes the human psyche”[ CITATION Ken02 \l 1033 ]. Othello and Iago are two extremes of human nature, Othello who trusts everyone, is honest, naïve and considers others to be honest while Iago is treacherous, manipulative, liar and opportunist. These two characters are very strong of representation of human behavior and the difference in them is very well visible during the play.
Bodkin, Maud. "Othello." Rogers, R. Othello. 1969.
Muir, Kenneth. "Othello ." Kolin, Philip C. Othello: new critical essays. Routledge, 2002.