Othello Character Relationships | Shakespeare Learning Zone
Use our interactive grid to see how the characters are linked together, who loves and trusts who, and how their relationships change over the course of the play. Free Essay: The Relationship Between Othello and Desdemona We first learn of being a relationship between Othello and Desdemona when Iago and Roderigo Othello completely trusts Iago and is able to speak in confidence with him. Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and has been giving Iago money to act as his never received any jewels) would learn that honest Iago is not to be trusted.
The words of Iago at the opening of the play show that he regards the latter as an offence to himself, and therefore makes it the ground of his hostility to Othello. He complains that Cassio has "had the election," and that, "He in good time must his [Othello's] Lieutenant be, And I bless the mark his Moorship's Ancient.
At a later time he comes to see some connection between the two incidents, and believes that Cassio got the appointment because of an old friendship with Desdemona, and probably because he carried messages between Othello and Desdemona during their courtship.
Love in Othello - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
When Othello had occasion to appoint a lieutenant, "Three great ones of the city in personal suit" appealed to him on behalf of lago, only to find that he had already chosen Cassio.
It appeared to be a matter of personal preference only, for he could give no reason for the choice of Cassio.
This capricious choice lago at once took as a very great slight upon him, and rightly so. As one of "the usual lunacies," so-called, in the interpretation of the play, however, Professor Bradley says, "It has been held, for example, that Othello treated lago abominably in preferring Cassio to him.
This is the basis of the complaint of lago, and arouses at once his suspicion and bitter resentment, and soon turns him into an abiding but very stealthy enemy. If Othello can be capable of such gross violation of all military rules and practices, lago sees that he can no longer trust Othello, and that all confidence between them has virtually ceased to exist, and no longer can he hope for the intimate relationships of former days to continue.
This rewarding of Cassio with a military position because of personal service to himself and Desdemona was a most dangerous thing for a general to do, and opened up all kinds of possibilities of trouble, not only with lago, but with the discipline of all his forces. Only the fortune that favors fools could save him from disaster. But it was fatal when one of the disposition of lago was involved, for it turned him at once into an enemy, not only to himself, but to all the others connected with the insult, to Desdemona and Cassio, linking all three in his plan of revenge.
Here, then, is an outstanding fact that too few critics have even observed, and none have adequately explained. At this point in the lives of Othello and lago a great change comes over their relations. It cannot be too much insisted upon that up to this time they had, been the warmest and closest friends, and that lago had been in fact the confidential officer of Othello.
Now all at once, for some reason that has not been understood, lago has been turned into the bitter enemy of his old friend, Othello, and as if to mark the importance of this for the interpretation of the play, the dramatist has chosen this point in their relations for the opening scene. But in spite of all that has been observed about the importance of Shakespeare's opening scenes for the exposition of his dramatic art, little attention has been paid to this fact in respect to Othello.
The task of the critic at present, then, is to discover the cause of this great change in the relationships of these two men, and from this to trace the further development of the play.
Ever since Coleridge it has been the common thing, though by no means universal, to attribute the whole trouble to the sudden and unmotived malignity of lago, or to forget the fact that it has been sudden and unlike anything heard of before on the part of lago, and to assume only the malignity. Later critics, however, have not been able to overlook the emergence of the malignity at this time, and have attempted to explain it from their own imaginations rather than from the words of the play. Professor Bradley may be taken as voicing the best that can be said by those who would lay all the blame of the tragedy upon lago, but who feel they must account in some manner for this sudden malignity.
Roderigo, a sucker
Not content with charging lago with the evil the play undoubtedly lays upon his shoulders, Professor Bradley suggests that lago has always been in reality a villain, and has worn his "honesty" only as a mask, which now he throws off, revealing suddenly the real villain that he is, his true nature. He has always been, says Professor Bradley, "a thoroughly bad, cold man, who is at last tempted to let loose the forces within him.
A complete criticism of the assigned motive of lago, and an attempt at the elaboration of his real state of mind must be left until after we have followed the conflict through the initial stages, when we shall be better able to judge the real merits of the case.
Sufficient reason has been found, however, for declining to admit that the drama is the story of the intrigue of lago, and as the name would intimate it is the play of Othello.
Even as Desdemona faces her death, she asks Emilia to commend her to her 'kind lord'. She remains in love with him knowing that he is responsible for her death. In his final speech Othello claims that he was "one that loved not wisely but too well" and it is clear that his feelings regarding Desdamona were extremely passionate and overwhelming. Whether one lays all the blame for the tragedy at Iago's door, however, or holds Othello responsible is a matter for each individual audience member as they watch the play.
Iago and Emilia - An Unhappy Marriage The relationship between Iago and Emilia is not that of a strong and equal tie of love which we expect to find existing between man and wife.
When she exposes his scheme he kills her without a moment's hesitation and shocks the people who witness it: She steals the handkerchief in order to make him happy and perhaps strengthen their relationship: I'll have the work ta'en out, And give't lago: Her character is somewhat tarnished by her association with Iago but she seems self-aware enough to realise that this is the case: Her remarkable courage in standing up to him to defend Desdamona in the final Act redeems her character in the eyes of the audience: I hold my peace, sir?
No I will speak as liberal as the north: Let heaven and men and devils, let them all, All, all, cry shame against me, yet I'll speak. When everyone else has left the scene, Iago calls to Roderigo, saying "Come hither. If thou be'st valiant,-- as, they say, base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them--list me" 2. Roderigo does listen to Iago, who tells him that Desdemona is in love with Cassio, so Roderigo needs to be valiant and do something that will anger Cassio and make him lose his job.
At first Roderigo is incredulous at the idea that Desdemona could be in love with Cassio, but Iago keeps on talking, and Roderigo agrees to his plan. He's sure that when Cassio is drunk he'll get quarrelsome. Roderigo will provoke Cassio into doing something rash, and Cassio will lose his job. In the remainder of the scene Iago's plan plays out much to his satisfaction, but afterwards Roderigo complains that "My money is almost spent; I have been to-night exceedingly well cudgelled; and I think the issue [outcome] will be, I shall have so much experience for my pains, and.
Nevertheless, Iago persuades him that everything will work out if he just has patience. He complains, "Every day thou daffest me [put me off] with some device [excuse]Iago" 4. Roderigo is unhappy that Iago has not given him a chance to spend any time with Desdemona, has not even given him any realistic hope that he'll ever see her, and he declares that he won't put up with it anymore.
Roderigo also makes a threat that could make all of Iago's schemes blow up in his face. Roderigo says that he will go to Desdemona personally and promise to quit bothering her if she will return his jewels.
- Relationships in Othello
If she won't, Roderigo threatens Iago, "assure yourself I will seek satisfaction of you" 4. If this were to happen, Desdemona who of course has never received any jewels would learn that honest Iago is not to be trusted.
However, Roderigo's threat doesn't faze Iago. As soon as Iago tosses him a tiny crumb of respect, Roderigo is ready to swallow every lie that Iago feeds him, and Iago persuades him that he will get to sleep with Desdemona the very next night if he murders Cassio.