The play Othello, by Shakespeare carries with it a complex and unsettling plot which ultimately leads to the undoing of Othello. The one responsible for the downfall of the entire play I would argue, is Iago, the masterful villain of the play. Iago manages to ensnare every single character of the play in his sinister web of lies and manipulation and blinds them all from the truth.

In Othello’s case he manipulates him into believing that his wife is having an affair with Casio, his right hand man. Now some might say that Othello believing Iago and having such a poor sense of confidence is what lead to the downfall of the play, but  without Iago’s continual suggestions and “proof” as well as his ability to manipulate everyone else, Othello’s downfall would not have been as catastrophic or at least have had such an affect on everyone around him.

Somehow through the course of the play and even the time before, Iago has managed to gain trust of every single person in the play. They all trust him and believe him to be an honest and good man. Even Desdemona, who had no real previous relationship with him or any real reason to know him outside him being her husband’s friend, asks him to help her fix her relationship with her husband and puts a great amount of trust in him. What they weren’t able to see is that he was actually a manipulative genius who was able to get them to do his bidding and make them think it was or there own good.

With Casio he convinces him to appeal to Desdemona to get back in Othello’s good graces. Iago then uses Desdemona’s pleading on Casio’s behalf as proof to Othello that the two of them were having an affair. He was also able to trick Rodriguez into trying to kill Casio and Othello into killing Desdemona. He was somehow able to justify murder in the minds of the people in the play and cause them to do the unthinkable to strangers and even those close to them.

Iago’s ability to convince others to do his bidding by convincing them its for their own good combined with his ability to manipulate people’s perceptions of situations that he creates, makes him one of the greatest villains of all time. His abilities also make him the one who causes everyone’s downfall in the play and turn the play into the tragedy it is.


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