Iago throughout the story has been known as “Honest Iago. ” As you read the piece he is clearly not honest and speaks of his fiendish plans to ruin Othello’s relationship with Desdemona. In this act Iago’s plans really start coming together and are unfolding before him and he hardly has to say a thing. The main characters in this piece would include: Desdemona, Cassio, Othello, and Iago and each one of them has their own specific motivation in this scene. Iago being the main focus in this scene all of the characters play a certain role.
Desdemona after leaving her father to be with Othello and accompanying Othello on his voyage to Cyprus has had a similar motivation throughout the piece. Desdemona has wanted to prove that she is a good wife to Othello. By Act three Scene three Desdemona has noticed something is not quite right with Othello. However, she believes that it is just because of what is happening in Cyprus and because he has just been forced to fire his lieutenant for the time being. Desdemona wants to make Othello happy again and she believes by him making Cassio his lieutenant again he won’t be as stressed.
Othello approaches Desdemona several times hinting at the “affair ” he believes is going on like when he says “This hand is moist” meaning you are having an affair. During the time though words had many double meanings and moist also meant youthful. Essentially all of the things Othello says to Desdemona that hint at the supposed affair are just things that she is taking as compliments. Cassio does not make up very much of this scene but causes a lot of conflict between the other characters in it.
Earlier in the Cassio had lost his job due to striking Montano, who is a gentleman of Cyprus. After Othello fires him Cassio is a mess and is at a desperate stage where his motivation is to get his job back. Iago sees this as an opportunity to get Othello to believe Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Iago convinces Cassio to go and talk to Desdemona to see if he can get his job back when Iago says that “Our general’s wife is now the general” meaning that Desdemona has a lot of influence over Othello’s decisions.
He goes to see her and out of the goodness of her heart and her will to please Othello she agrees to try and convince him to give Cassio his job back. At the beginning of the scene it just has Desdemona and Cassio alone together discussing about getting Cassio’s job back. Desdemona is just reassuring Cassio that she will do her best to convince him when she says “Be thou assur’d, good Cassio, I will do All my abilities in thy behalf. ” Cassio however is still very worried that Othello will just forget about him and he will never get his job.
Othello in the beginning of the scene and all the other scenes has been very confident in his relationship, thinking everything is going great (which in reality it is). Iago at the start of the scene uses a small bit of rhetoric to quickly get Othello’s attention when he says “Ha! I like not that. ” This gets Othello’s attention because he wasn’t sure what Iago says and wants him to repeat himself. Othello asks if Cassio had just been speaking privately with his wife and Iago says no, that he wouldn’t believe that Cassio would be trying to steal his wife (which is the truth).
Othello is then convinced he saw Cassio and Desdemona speaking together. Othello’s motivation at this point is to find out what is going on between Cassio and Desdemona. Othello goes to speak with Desdemona and she says that yes, she was speaking with Cassio but it was about how Othello should make peace with him and give him back his job. Othello believes her and loses all suspicion of her and says “Excellent wretch! Perdition capture my soul but I do love thee; and when I love thee not, chaos is come again.
This is Othello expressing his truly passionate feelings towards Desdemona. Iago then starts questioning Othello about Cassio saying how he didn’t know Cassio and Desdemona were acquainted. Othello then begins to question whether Cassio is an honest man and Iago will not give him and answer, rather he begins mimicking him to anger him. As Iago and Othello and talking one theory is that Othello feels insecure about his appearance compared to Cassio and this creates a lot of the jealousy he feels.
Iago says that it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Cassio and Desdemona were having an affair, especially when they are always together. As Othello grows angrier Iago becomes a little blunter when he says “who certain of his fate” which means that he is sure his wife is cheating on him. At this point Othello is furious at his wife and the “green-eyed monster” symbolizing jealousy is brought up a few times. Othello is so angry he even threatens to kill Iago if what he says is untrue. Iago then tries to convince Othello that he is blind with love and he cannot see what is happening before his eyes.
Iago has fully convinced Othello that Desdemona has been cheating on him. Iago has been the brilliant mastermind behind all of the conflict that occurs in this scene (and all the others for that matter). He uses fantastic rhetoric to persuade characters to bend and twist to his whim. Iago is essentially trying to ruin Othello’s relationship and he is doing that by trying to anger Othello so much so that he is at the point where he wants to kill Desdemona. His first piece of rhetoric is at the beginning of the scene when Iago and Othello are speaking.
He brings Othello to see Desdemona and Cassio together (Othello not knowing that this is Iago’s objective). Othello sees them together and is a little curious at first but denies that Desdemona or Cassio would ever betray him like that. This is good rhetoric because really this bothers Othello that Desdemona and Cassio are always talking, possibly because of his own insecurities. Another piece of rhetoric Iago uses is the handkerchief. The handkerchief is something Othello gave to Desdemona when they were first married.
This handkerchief has great importance to Othello and he says how it was his grandmothers and it was “magical”. Desdemona however drops it and it is picked up by Emilia but Iago takes it from her saying “why, what’s that to you? ” Emilia does not know what Iago’s intentions are so she does not put up much of a fight about it. Iago intends to use this handkerchief against Cassio by telling Othello that Desdemona had given to him. This infuriates Othello even more and Othello commands Iago to kill Cassio.