Close Reading on Othello


Iago. Thus do I ever make my fool my purse;
For I mine own gained knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such a snipe
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor;
And it is thought abroad, that \'twixt my sheets
’Has done my office: I know not if\'t be true;
Yet I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well;
The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio\'s a proper man. Let me see now;
To get his place, and to plume up my will
In double knavery--How, how? Let\'s see,
After some time, to abuse Othello\'s ear
That he is too familiar with his wife.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose
To be suspected, framed to make women false.
The Moor is of a free and open nature
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by the nose
As asses are.
I have\'t! It is engend’red. Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world\'s light.

Othello by William Shakespeare is one of his most famous tragedies, providing an interesting storyline and many dramatic moments. This play also presents one of the most prominent villains of literature, Iago. In the story, Iago develops an evil plot against his general, Othello, and a man who received the military position what he wanted, Cassio. Many times in the play Iago will speak his mind to the audience in a soliloquy. One such soliloquy is in Act One, Scene Three. This soliloquy proves to be very significant, since it is in this speech that Iago makes his plot against the two men. He gets his point across to the reader by comparing Othello and Roderigo to animals. He also explains to the audience why his plan will be successful, as well as what is his motivation against Othello. This soliloquy is very important to the play as a whole, since it sets out the evil plan that becomes the plot of the story.
Iago shows both how rude he is and how imaginative he can be when he compares both Roderigo and Othello to animals. Iago explains why he associates with Roderigo, saying that he is only spending his time “with such a snipe/ but for my sport and profit” (403-404). Saying Roderigo is a snipe indicates that Iago sees Roderigo simply as a pawn, a tool to be utilized in his plot. Iago realizes that Roderigo can be controlled much like a game animal and that he can manipulate and play with Roderigo until his goals are accomplished. One can assume that if Iago were not getting money or a few laughs from Roderigo’s presence that he would not even be in the story. Iago also cuts down Othello by saying he can “tenderly be led by the nose/ as asses are” (419-420). This phrase shows how Iago is taking advantage of Othello’s gullible and trusting nature by treating him like an animal and leading him into his plot. Although Othello is a general, Iago feels more powerful since he can easily manipulate and offend him.
Iago clearly explains to the reader why the natures of both Cassio and Othello will lead to his plan’s success.