Michael Cassio, or simply Cassio, is one of Florentine’s soldiers in the Venice army. At the beginning of the play, Othello promotes him to chief lieutenant. He is a man of gentle manners and is primarily focused on theoretical learning. Because of his rapid promotion, Cassio has a hater – Iago.
Cassio is a leading character in William Shakespeare’s play Othello. He is a gallant and polite gentleman who attracts women’s attention. A prostitute Bianca sincerely lovers him. However, he mistreats her, feeding with empty promises. He can only neglect her rather than think of marrying her.
Othello chooses Cassio as his chief lieutenant. This promotion causes a lot of troubles for Cassio. Iago, the main villain of the play, becomes jealous of him. Claiming that Cassion lacks military skills, Iago offensively calls him a “great arithmetician”:
“Forsooth, a great arithmetician,
One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,
A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife;
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows
More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,
Wherein the toged consuls can propose
As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise,
Is all his soldiership.”
(Act 1, scene 1)
Cassio considers his reputation the highest value. Still, Iago manages to make him fail in front of Othello and lose his honor. Knowing that Cassio has problems with alcohol, the villain makes him drunk. As a result, the lieutenant starts acting inadequately and loses his position.
Following Iago’s suggestion, he places his hopes of being reinstated as a lieutenant on Desdemona. Asking a woman for help, Cassio does not realize how terribly it will affect his life. Trying to help Cassio, Desdemona speaks well of him in front of Othello:
“Why, your lieutenant, Cassio. Good my lord,
If I have any grace or power to move you,
His present reconciliation take;
For if he be not one that truly loves you,
That errs in ignorance and not in cunning,
I have no judgment in an honest face:
I prithee, call him back.”
(Act 3, scene 3)
As a result of Desdemona’s flattering words, the Moor starts suspecting his wife is cheating on him with Cassio.
Overall, Cassio is one of Iago’s victims. Being a part of the villain’s evil plan, he becomes a tool for provoking Othello’s rage and desire to revenge.