A comparison of the methods Employed by Iago in the play; Othello and those used by Edmund in Lear in pursuit of power

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A comparison of the methods Employed by Iago in the play; Othello and those used by Edmund in Lear in pursuit of power


Lust for power, wealth and prestige makes people commit acts that are so inhuman. Led by the craving for recognition and esteem, people have betrayed their masters as they try to overthrow them to gain power. The following discussion will focus on two separate plays that demonstrate the last for power and the cruel means that people use to gain it. It will be comparing methods used by Iago in the play; Othello and those used by Edmund in the play; Lear to gain power.


Iago happens to be a soldier who has been in the service for many years working for Othello. He also happens to be one of the most trusted people by Othello that whatever he says is believed to be true. As it always is, many of such individuals who have gained total trust of their masters tend to be the ones to turn against them.

He has a close friend who is also a colleague with whom he has served as a soldier named Cassio. Iago is not happy about the promotion that is given to him since he perceives it to be unfair and that it is he who deserved it. He however does not let Cassio to know the condition of his heart but it is apparent that he is planning to employ the use of some evil tactics to see to it that he has gained that glory which he feels he deserves and has been denied.

From the time of Cassio’s promotion through to the rest of the play, Iago is not a happy man and he is looking for every opportunity in order to ruin Cassio’s reputation and end up making Othello despise his credibility and make him Lieutenant instead. He plans to use his friend Rodelligo to help him in achieving his evil and cruel plans saying that after everything is okay he will be sharing with him the benefits that will come as a result. “Appetites promoted by cleverness, with the strongest and the shrewdest winning out.” The quote demonstrates the greediness in Iago to acquire the power. His behavior has also been compared to that of animals,’ Iago’s is explicitly reductive. For him “the herd” is no metaphor, and the view he expounds.’

‘If I can fasten but one cup upon him… with that which he has drunk already,’ (3.3.87) this was the first technique that Iago plotted in order to gain power thereby humiliating and making Cassio make fool of himself by getting himself extremely intoxicated. Iago pushes him to drinking even though he was already drunk. He knew that by getting him intoxicated he would lose his judgment and the control of himself and behavior. They were in their master’s court and any kind of misconduct arising was therefore going to be treated with very harsh punishment. This plot is a well calculated one as the venue of drinking is a place where misconduct must be punished.

After that, there erupts commotion between Cassio already drunk and Roderigo who is a friend of Iago’s. A fight ensues and the latter is severely injured in the process. Immediately Othello steps in seeking an explanation of what was going on. He was so furious when he learnt that his own respected man and the one he had just promoted was responsible for all that kind of mess. This event partly accomplishes Iago’s plans as the misconduct he expected takes place and Othello whom he targeted with the misconduct also happens to be timely in finding out what has taken place.

When Iago is called to explain what had ensued, he pretends to be protecting Cassio by telling Othello that his act as a result of drinking. He is however demoted as the Lieutenant which is a big blow for but great success for Iago.

He appears sarcastic when he comes to console him, ‘what, are you hurt Lieutenant?’ he pretends to care about the pain that Cassio is going through for losing his position. He however promises to tell him that he will be reinstated soon if only they convince Desdemona the wife of Othello to speak on his behalf.

This was however another opportunity that Iago was planning to utilize in order to finish him completely so that he would be left alone in the master’s court and maybe be awarded the highest position that he was lusting for.

The meetings between Cassio and Desmodema were used by Iago as another weapon to betray them. He went behind their back to report to Othello that the two were having an affair an accusation that made him so shocked since it had never occurred to him that his wife was capable of doing such an act. Iago was planning to ruin Othello by giving ill information to make him change his attitude about Cassio.

Othello is now a very worried man and he is so much disturbed. He trusts Iago so much but he tells him that such delicate allegations needed enough proof. He says that Cassio has been wooing Desmodema and that the two have been seen in private a number of days. In the .............

Type: Essay || Words: 1870 Rating || Excellent

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