The Theme of Revenge in Othello
Revenge is a constant theme throughout the play Othello. It is portrayed through the
character Iago. Iago is determined to destroy Othello and his loved ones. This retribution is a
result of Othello promoting Cassio to the position of lieutenant. The theme of revenge is the
motivation of Iago’s hatred toward Othello.
In the beginning of the play, Iago feels betrayed by his good friend, Othello. Through
many years of loyalty and service Iago is “[i]n personal suit to make [himself] [Othello’s]
When Othello has to choose his lieutenant, he appoints Cassio. Iago feels hurt
and betrayed, and realizes “there [is] no remedy”(40) except for revenge. He “. . . hate[s] the
Moor . . . ”(63) and comes to the conclusion that “ . . . nothing can or shall content [his] soul
[t]ill [he is] evened with [Othello] . . . ”(76).
In an attempt for revenge, Iago publically humiliates
Brabantio at Othello’s expense. In the middle of the night, Iago calls outside Brabantio’s house
to inform him that his daughter, Desdemona has run away and eloped with Othello. Coming from
two different backgrounds, Desdemona’s father takes offense to their interracial marriage. This
demeans Othello and causes him to prove to Brabantio that he did not use any witchcraft or black
magic to win Desdemona’s heart. When Desdemona professes her true love for Othello, her
People are not always the way you see them to be. Within the play Othello by William Shakespeare, a character named Iago displays a very good example of this. Iago who is Othello's ensign is considerate to people although at the same time manipulates their minds into thinking different things other than what had really occurred. Therefore, the victims of Iago's mischievous acts had been lured in ...
father disowns her. Iago’s first attempt to destroy Othello is successful, yet he still craves
revenge. He devises a plan to destroy Othello. He wants to make Othello believe that Cassio is
having an affair with his wife Desdemona. This will cause Othello to regret appointing Cassio as
his lieutenant and simultaneously destroy Othello’s life. He knows that he “must bring this
monstrous birth to the world’s light”(64) if he wants to avenge Othello’s betrayal. Iago is
successful in convincing Othello that his wife is unfaithful. Outraged, Othello murders
Desdemona. Immediately after, Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s “mistress”(156), explains
to Othello that her husband has been lying to him and Desdemona had been faithful. Iago then
murders Emilia. Iago succeeds in destroying Othello’s life as well as his own.
In summation, Iago consumes his life with hatred and vengeance. Revenge is one of the
main themes in this play. It drives Iago to do many irrational things and destroys Iago’s
friendship with Othello, the love Desdemona and Othello shared, and the trust between Cassio
and Othello. The need for revenge is part of human nature, but if it is blown out of proportion, it
can have devastating effects.