OTHELLO : Character Profiles

In-depth analysis of main characters including character progression and quotes.

Please note: all quotes were said my their respective character.


IAGO : Relationships with other characters

Othello - Iago is his ensign, and therefore trusted by him. Often makes racist remarks about Othello although he pretends to be faithful to him. "I hate the moor, and it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets 'has done my office."

Roderigo - Iago's 'friend' whom he cons out of money. Uses him as a tool in his plot and tells him to kill Cassio to keep the blood off his own hands. "You may take [Cassion] at your pleasure. I will be near to second your attempt, and he shall fall between us."

Cassio - Iago's driving force for revenge. Iago believes he deserved the title that was instead given to Cassio. Constantly lies to him. "You advise me well." "I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest kindness."

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IAGO : Progression through the play

Act One: Iago is upset he has been overlooked by Othello for a higher position in the army. He plans to tell Brabantio, Desdemona's father, of her and Othello's marriage. When this does not work he begins hatching his new plan. "Will as tenderly be led by the nose as asses are."

Act Two: Iago causes to Cassio to get drunk which leads to him losing his job. Iago denies any knowledge of this incident. He speaks derogatively about women. "You rise to play and go to bed to work."

Act Three: Iago plant's Desdemona's hankerchief with Cassio and tells Othello he suspects infedelity on Desdemona's part. This eventually leads to Othello vowing to kill Desdemona, and Iago to vow to kill Cassio. "She may be honest yet... My friend is dead; 'tis done and your request."

Act Four: Iago pushes Othello's jealousy by referencing Desdemona's infidelity. He sets up a conversation between himself and Cassio that makes it sound like Cassio is refering to Desdemona. "With her, on her, what you will."

Act Five: Iago tries to flee after the plot goes wrong. Although evidence is found in the form of letters, he still denies all knowledge, and is taken away. "I will never speak a word."

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IAGO : Intertexual links

Julius Ceasar: Ceasar is treacherous to his leader due to desire for revenge

Much Ado About Nothing: Don John tries to make other character's think their partners are unfaithful

Twelfth Night: Viola deceives the people around her to put herself in a better position

Macbeth: Macbeth is overthrown for his thirst for power

The Merchant of Venice: Shylock fueled by revenge

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IAGO : Critical theories

Marxist: Iago dislikes Othello due to his skin colour and often uses derogatory terms when referring to him

Feminist: Iago constantly looks down and speaks negatively to women

Physcoanalitical: Iago relies heavily on physcological manipulation on other characters

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OTHELLO: Relationships with other characters

Desdemona: His wife who fell for him due to his stories of war. He is fully devoted to her until Iago begins meddling. She loves him unconditionally. "I won his daughter."

Iago: Othello trusts Iago immensely, ultimately leading to his downfall. Continues to put his trust in Iago until right at the very end. "Nay, stay: though shouldst be honest."

Cassio: As Othello's recently appointed Lieutenant he is the main cause of feud within the play. He is trusted by Othello until he gets into a drunken brawl triggered by Iago. "Never more be an officer of mine."

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OTHELLO : Progression through the play

Act One: Although introduced negatively by some characters at the beginning he gives off a very different air when he enters. "Old black ram." vs "Valiant Othello."

Act Two: Othello dismisses Cassio when he discovers the fight. He still demonstrates devoted love for Desdemona at this point. "Never more an officer of mine."

Act Three: Iago begins to deceieve Othello by telling him Cassio loves Desdemona. Throughout this act Othello becomes less trusting of Desdemona. "Why did I marry?"

Act Four: Othello vows to kill Desdemona after Iago feeds him more lies. His character has notably changed, which can be seen when he strikes Desdemona. "O devil, devil!"

Act Five: Othello suffocates Desdemona, before learning the truth and taking his own life. "Killing myself to die upon a kiss."

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OTHELLO : Intertextual links

Antony & Cleopatra: Antony is critisied for his relationship

Antony & Cleopatra: Enobarbus commits suicide out of guilt

King Lear: Ends with the death of main characters

King Lear: King Lear is both a victim and a villian

Much Ado About Nothing: Claudio believes his wife is being unfaithful due to manipulation from another character

Macbeth: Macbeth is a respected soldier that experiences a moral decline

Merchant of Venice: Shylock is seen as an outsider in his society

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OTHELLO : Critical theories

Marxism: Othello experiences racial prejudices all throughout the play

Feminism: Othello is quick to believe a man's perspective over his own wife

Physcoanalytical: Othello is mentally controlled by Iago, eventually his mind becomes his biggest enemy

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DESDEMONA : Relationships with other characters

Othello: Her husband, she is fully devoted to him and is constantly willing to protect his honour. "So much I challange that I may profess due to the moor my lord."

Cassio: A friend of hers, she tries to help him when he is dismissed by Othello, thus spurring Iago's plans. "Madam I take my leave" - Cassio

Emilia: Her maid and good friend, she defends Desdemona's honours to her own death. Emilia often gives advice regarding men. "Lay me by my mistress' side." - Emilia

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DESDEMONA : Progression throughout the play

Act One: She is called upon to ask if she really loves Othello, to which she agrees that she does. "I did love the moor to live with him."

Act Two: She speaks with Iago, joking with him defiantely as he speaks negatively of women. She shuts his mysoginist views down, showing herself as a strong female character. "O heavy ignorance!"

Act Three: She playfully speaks to Othello and asks him to consider reappointing Cassio, to which he agrees. "Good love, call him back."

Act Four: After being accused by Othello of being dishonest, she professes her undying love for him. She prepares for bed, seemingly knowing her fate. "His stubborness, his cheeks, his frowns."

Act Five: Othello suffocates her as he believes she has been unfaithful, and she protects his dignity and honour to the very end. "Nobody, I myself."

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DESDEMONA : Intertextual links

Antony & Cleopatra: Cleopatra has a devotion to her husband due to his heroism

Kind Lear: Includes innocently murdered daughters

Macbeth: Duncan is killed by Macbeth in his bed

The Merchant of Venice: Jessica breaks away from her relationship with her father

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DESDEMONA : Critical theories

Feminism: Desdemona fights stereotypes of the time, going against her father's wishes and taking professional matters into her own hands. She also displays herself as a strong woman when talking with Iago.

Marxism: Othello views her views as less important than Iagos.

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