“Keep your friends close, Keep your enemies closer”
Jealousy is a crazy thing. It can cause people to do unthinkable things. Most fights are over their jealousy of a person. In Shakespeare’s plays there is always a fight over this of some kind. Also written by Shakespeare, it is apparent in Othello. Two characters like Iago and Othello fight a silent battle except Othello has no clue about Iago’s powerful despise and envy to him. It is clearly evident that Othello symbolizes a hero while Iago adores the role as a villain. Their inconsistent characteristics are what separate the two from each other. Throughout the beginning Acts I and II of Othello, Othello and Iago differ greatly in their integrity and devotion towards others. Othello portrays himself as frank and sincere, while on the other hand Iago acts as the good guy but in the end backstabs the people who trust him. Othello demonstrates to his self and others his honesty. For example, when Othello explains to the Duke about their nuptials between him and Desdemona he nobly says, “That I have ta’en away this old man’s daughter, It is most true; true that I have married her” (I iii 93-34). Othello delineates his trustworthiness because he doesn’t try to keep the marriage a secret and tells the Duke up-front when he asks. In addition, he is straightforward to others when Iago warns Othello about Brabantio finding out about the marriage and tells him to go inside and he says, “Not i. I must be found. My parts, my title, and my perfect soul Shall manifest me rightly. Is it they?” (I ii 35-37).
The general of the Venetian army is confident in himself that his service and stately fall will cause everything to calm down, he is also certain of his worthiness to Desdemona and that he deserves to have her and her love. Iago is pleased with his deceitful plans and sits back and savors the many lies he has told. For example, Iago shows his despise in integrity by whispering to himself that, “I am not what I am “(I i 71) and to Roderigo, “I follow him to serve my turn upon on him” (I i 45). Iago is acting like someone he is not to get the life he desires and is taking advantage of Othello just to proclaim his revenge for him and Othello does not know about it.
Furthermore, when they defeated the Turks and decided to celebrate, Othello takes Desdemona up to their room, and Iago comes up with a plan for Roderigo to win back Desdemona by telling him, “Do you find some occasion to anger Cassio, either by speaking to loud or tainting his discipline, or from what other course you may please, which the time shall more favorably minister” (II i 288-292). Iago is getting Roderigo to fight Cassio to dishonor him and is lying to Roderigo because he is telling him that this is how he can get Desdemona back but in reality Iago Is getting everyone who loves and trusts’ him only to turn them against each other for his own enjoyment. Integrity is shown through Othello because of his actions and the way he perceives difficult situations, but through Iago he displays no integrity to him or the others around him. While both of these characters may juxtapose in integrity they also greatly contrast in their devotion to the people in their life. Othello’s relationship with Desdemona is so affectionate and deep that he would do anything for her even though they had just recently wed. For instance, when Othello comes back from being lost at sea he shows his profound loyalty toward Desdemona by saying, “If it were not to die, ‘Twere now to be most happy, for I fear My soul hath her content so absolute that not another comfort like this Succeeds in unknown fate” (II i 205-209). If Othello were to die, he would die happy because he does not think that he will ever be as happy again, he believes that she is the only woman for him.
In addition, he also proves his dedication to Desdemona when Brabantio tells Othello to keep an eye on her because Desdemona lied to her father and she might lie to Othello but in defense he says, “My life upon her faith” (I iii 335). Othello believes in Desdemona and is willing to bet his life on it and he would do anything for his wife just to show how much he loves her. Iago has malicious plans for getting revenge on Othello by committing his time in Roderigo so he can do his dirty work for him. For example, Iago takes advantage of Roderigo’s vulnerability over Desdemona getting married to Othello when Roderigo is in love with her by scheming up a plan for him to, “Put money in thy purse Follow thon the war; defeat thy favor with an usurped beard” (I iii 382-384). Iago’s continued pursue of Roderigo’s trust displays his dedication to Othello’s downfall and Roderigo’s foolishness allows Iago to trick him into doing absolutely ridiculous favors and giving him more money “for Desdemona”. In addition, Iago hates Othello for various reasons and he says that, “in following him, I follow but myself. Heaven is my judge not I for love and duty but seeming so for my peculiar end” (I i 64-66).
Iago manifests the fact that he despises the Moor although Othello has not committed anything against him knowingly and perseveringly pursues Othello to bring about his collapse. Othello and Iago both compare in their dedication towards others but not for alike reasons. Throughout the beginning of the story, Iago and Othello develop distinct characteristics that show differences between them. Iago is always trying to hinder the moor, while Othello continues his expression of honest virtues. Iago relishes his deceit and manipulation of others, rather than to show he is a leader. These two show a part of life that will never go away. There are multiple differences between Othello and Iago but they both share a comparison in knowledge and understanding.