" I am not what I am." What is Iago? Iago's actual personality is quite distant from what he pretends to be. In Shakespeare's Othello, the reader is presented the classic battle between good and evil. It is these forces of evil that ultimately lead to the breakdown of Othello. Othello's breakdown results in the murder of his wife Desdemona. Desdemona is representative of the good in nature. Good can be defined as forgiving, honest, innocent and unsuspecting.
The evil contained within Othello is by no means magical or mythical yet is represented by the character Iago. Iago is cunning, untrustworthy, selfish, and plotting. He uses these traits to his advantage by slowly planning his own triumph while watching the demise of others. It is this that is Iago's motivation. Iago uses the weaknesses of Othello, specifically jealousy and his devotion to things as they seem, to conquer him. From the start of the play, Iago's scheming ability is shown when he convinces Roderigo to tell about Othello and Desdemonda's elopement to Desdemona's father, Brabantia.
Confidently Iago continues his plot successfully, making fools of others, and himself being rewarded. Except Roderigo, no one is aware of Iago's plans. This is because Iago pretends to be an honest man loyal to his superiors. Othello was reeled expertly into Othello's plans. He staged many things-having him eavesdrop on Iago and Cassio's conversation about Bianca, and also, Cassio wiping his beard with the sacred handkerchief. The fact that Othello himself views Iago as trustworthy and honest gives the evil within Iago a perfect unsuspecting victim for his schemes.
In deceiving Othello, Iago also deceived Desedemona. By getting her to plead with Othello to allow Cassio back into the order, Desdemona worsens Othello's suspicions of her unfaithfulness with Cassio... planted by Iago, of course. Unsuspecting Desdemona thinks she is doing Cassio a favor, when in actuality is making things worse for herself.
Iago takes advantage of Desedemona's trusting, wholesome character, even until her death, staying loyal to Othello in denying that he killed her. Roderigo, I would say is one of the most deceived in the play. He is the only one that knows of Iago's plans, but has little incentive about his plans against him. Roderigo considers himself an ally of Iago's.
Until the night they plan to kill Cassio. When Roderigo draws his sword on Cassio, they fight and both are wounded. When a crowd of people appear, Cassio dies and Iago declares Roderigo as the killer. He then slays him... hey, that's Iago for you.
Cassio is often used as the prop in this play. He is used many times to make Othello believe more and more Iago's lie about Desdemona's unfaithfulness. As in the conversation concerning Bianca, where Othello thinks he's talking about Desdemona, and the incident where in confusion and being rushed, Desdemona drops her handkerchief. The heirloom is then given to Iago. It ultimately ends up in the hands of Cassio, where Othello sees him wiping his beard with it.
Yet again, Cassio is a prop. The only time Cassio is truly needed as a prop and is not around is when he is needed to prove Desdemona's innocence and is dead. This play is the ultimate battle of appearance vs. reality in the respect that Iago is the complete opposite from what he appears to be. Everyone involved with him separately thinks that he is doing them favors, when actually he is a backstabbing, conniving person who is the essence of evil and is often referred to as half-man, half-devil. Although he got pleasure from other's pain, Iago leaves us at the end of the play and we are left to wonder the consequences of his actions..