One of the distinguishing features of Iago is the desire to achieve high status. He is eager to receive the rank of lieutenant. It is the desire to get the next post that prompts Iago to intrigue against Cassio. Why? Because he was appointed as a lieutenant instead of Iago. The villain is trying to discredit his rival in the eyes of his superiors. To this end, Iago attributes Cassio to an imaginary relationship with Desdemona.
The central theme of the play Othello is the loyalty and villainy of friends. Othello completely trusts Iago. Othello’s trusting nature helps Iago to trick him. The main character is naive, so manipulating him isn’t difficult.
In contrast to Othello, Iago is cunning. He seeks to obtain the position of lieutenant by fraudulent means. Iago does not furnish everything as it is. He tries to show Othello that he is his most faithful friend. In reality, Iago is Othello’s enemy:
To lead their business: in which regard,
Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains.
Yet, for necessity of present life,
I must show out a flag and sign of love,
Which is indeed but sign.
(Act 1, Scene 1)
Iago’s character is a combination of cunning cruelty and incredible logic. Such a personality type accompanies all his actions as he calculates every step in advance. He analyzed the natures of the people he tricks. That’s what describes him as a skilled manipulator. Iago is egoistic, rude, and ignorant, and his immorality does not find obstacles. He openly lies to Othello, who considers him a close friend.
Moreover, each character tries to comprehend the words and deeds of Iago. This character appears as a treacherous man. At the same time, Iago himself is perfectly aware of his egoity when he pretends to be Othello’s friend.
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.
(Act 1, Scene 1)
Concerning Roderigo, it is mentioned that he is a Venetian nobleman. He belongs to the upper class. Roderigo is a rather vain person, striving for success and fame. Othello rejects everyone he sees as superior. Thus, Iago’s hatred and jealousy become a destructive force for Roderigo. It is not enough for Iago to take revenge on Othello alone. Along the way, he still wants to cash in on Roderigo, remove Cassio from the road, and harm Desdemona.
Iago’s intrigues provoke the dramatic end of the tragedy. Iago, being standard-bearer, aspires to the higher post of lieutenant, occupied by Cassio. The character tries to discredit Cassio in the eyes of Othello. Besides, Iago manages to create the appearance of betrayal of Othello’s devoted wife, Desdemona. However, all the secrets become apparent. At the end of the play, the insidious Iago is exposed.