Jealousy plays a significant role in depicting the two characters behavior. The play illustrates Othello as a man of stature who appoints Cassio as his lieutenant. Othello disregards the endorsement of Iago by three distinguished members of the society. The appointment of Cassio as Othello's lieutenant infuriates Iago. He feels that he is the candidate with the highest qualification and experience. He becomes jealous of Cassio's promotion. His jealous ignites anger against Othello for passing him over (Kolin 2001, page 212). He finally chooses to be content with his current position with the aim of furthering his own agendas. The knowledge of Othello's marriage to Desdemona inspires Iago to conceive a plot to cause conflict in the marriage. He views his action as a way of getting back at Othello for not choosing him as his lieutenant. He incites Roderigo to join him in his efforts of creating the disparity between Othello and Desdemona's family. Iago shouts unpleasant comments about her whereabouts of Desdemona to her father. He plants a seed of mistrust and hate in Desdemona's father's mind.
Iago's feelings lead him to use others in his manipulations
He uses Roderigo to insight Brabanzio, Desdemona's father against Othello. Iago leaves Roderigo ostensibly to attend to Othello. He finds Othello in his lodgings and tells him that Desdemona's father is coming to attempt to force a divorce between Othello and Desdemona (Shakespear, 2007, Act 1 scene ii). Othello stands his ground when Brabanzio and his entourage arrive. The threat of conflict does not thwart Othello's resolve to stay married to Desdemona. Desdemona's father becomes aware that Othello has the summons to appear before the Duke and the senators. He opts to attend the meeting as well in order to present his case before them. He claims that Othello stole his daughter by use of portions and magic. Othello explains his position and asks Desdemona to clarify matters. She expunges the notion that she has been under the influence of potions or magic. She states that her love for Othello is true and precedes that of her father. Othello's marriage remains intact. Iago's intention to break their marriage at this juncture fails. When they arrive in Cyprus Iago notices that while talking Desdemona and Cassio were holding hands. His jealousy against Cassio's position as Othello's lieutenant is prevalent. He decides to plot against Cassio and Desdemona by insinuating that they have an affair. He realizes that a small gesture of holding hands can have significant results in his favor. Iago decides that to cultivate Othello towards thinking that his wife has an affair with Cassio.
How Iago acts during the plot
Iago does not act on his plot directly. When alone with Roderigo, he insinuates that Desdemona would soon leave Othello for a younger man. He implies that the man to replace Othello's affection in Desdemona's heart would be Cassio. He qualifies his argument by stating the earlier display of holding hands. Roderigo who has affectionate feelings towards Desdemona refuses to agree. He believes that the holding of hands was a result of Cassio's polite nature. Iago disputes this idea and eventually convinces Roderigo that Cassio's intentions were to have an affair with Desdemona. Iago incites Roderigo to start a fight with Cassio. A fight would result in Cassio falling from Othello's graces; therefore, leaving a vacant position for Iago to fill. Iago believes that Othello had an affair with his wife Emily. His actions are significantly a motivation by his jealousy and his desire to avenge himself by sleeping with Othello's wife. His lust for her has made him plot against Othello. When Othello leaves Cassio in the guard of the revelers, Iago suggests to Cassio that Desdemona is a loose woman. Cassio refuses to agree, and he insists that she is a modest lady. Iago realizes that he will not achieve much when Cassio is sober. He persuades him to drink and commences his plot against Cassio. Iago tells Montana that, Cassio is a loyal soldier but, he is an alcoholic and is not fit to assume the responsibilities of Othello's lieutenant. When Roderigo enters the room, Iago points him in Cassio's direction. He indicates its time Roderigo to take action against Cassio for his pursuit of Desdemona. Cassio is already under the influence of alcohol, and he threatens to beat Roderigo. Montana intervenes and in the process, Cassio stabs him. When this happens an alarm rings bringing Othello from his wife. Othello tries to establish how the fight began but, none of them seems to recall anything. Iago is conveniently asked to explain the beginning of the fight. He explains that Cassio was chasing after Roderigo who must have done something to upset him. His argument leans on Cassio favorably in an attempt to ensnare himself to Othello's finest graces. Othello dismisses Cassio from his service. Cassio is unable to comprehend the beginning of the conflict between him and Roderigo. He fails to see that his predicament is a result of manipulations by Iago. He is oblivious to Largos jealous of his position as Othello's lieutenant. Iago proceeds to tell Cassio to seek Desdemona's intervention. He tells him that Desdemona is capable of talking on his behalf to Othello in an attempt at getting his job back (Shakespear 2007, Act 3 scene 1). Cassio does not realize that he is a pawn in Iago's plot to end Othello's marriage. Iago aims at exploiting Desdemona's generosity and Othello's soft nature towards her. He establishes that since Cassio will spend considerable time with Desdemona, it will be easy to make Othello believe that they have an affair. Othello does not see the reinstatement of Cassio as a novel idea. Eventually, Cassio meets with Desdemona and she promises to speak on his behalf to Othello. Meanwhile, Iago insinuates that there is more to the relationship between Desdemona and Cassio to Othello.
How Othello acts during the plot
Othello finds this news to be unsettling. When his wife approaches he finds it difficult to talk with her without envisioning her alleged indiscretions. Othello seethes with jealousy and is unable to confront his wife without evidence. He asks Iago to produce evidence of his wife's affair with Cassio. Iago tells him that on one occasion, while Cassio slept he was shouting Desdemona's name. At the same time kissing him as he was doing to Desdemona in his dream. This revelation is unbearable to Othello. Largo promises to provide further proof. Iago's wife Emily is suspicious of her husband's activities. He asks her to get Desdemona's handkerchief for him. She is not certain what his intentions are, but when she delivers one to him, he is beside himself with joy. Iago places the handkerchief in Cassio's room. Iago proceeds to insinuate that Desdemona gave her handkerchief to Cassio as her lover; this information infuriates Othello who is already seething with jealousy. Cassio often goes to see a prostitute. In order to provide further proof of his affair with Desdemona, Iago tricks him to tell of his escapades with the prostitute. At this juncture, Othello is hiding in the nearby bushes believing what he hears to be his wife's encounters with Cassio. As Cassio is telling his tale, Bianca the prostitute arrives with the handkerchief given to her by Cassio for embroidery (Shakespear 2007, act 4 scene 1). She accuses him of giving her another woman's handkerchief. Othello who is hiding recognizes the handkerchief and believes that his wife indeed has an affair with Cassio. Othello confronts his wife, and she refuses to acknowledge ever having an affair with Cassio. He accuses Emily of covering up for her mistress and aiding in her promiscuous activities. Iago lies to Roderigo that Othello is getting a transfer, and Cassio will take Othello's place. He proposes the only way he has a chance to prevent her departure is by removing Cassio out of the way.
Jealousy by the two characters has led to the deaths of their wives
When Cassio will no longer be around, then Othello will not take her away from there. They plot on killing Cassio. They wait for him to come out of the prostitute's house and ambush him. They attack him, and he screams for help. Othello hears the screams and he believes that Iago is avenging him. He goes ahead and kills his wife as revenge for her alleged infidelity to him. Iago, on the other hand, fails to succeed in killing Cassio but ends up killing Roderigo. When Emily finds Othello killing Desdemona, he tries to elaborate matters where Emily tells the truth and the evil machinations of Iago come to light. When the truth emerges Othello attempts to attack Iago. Iago stabs Emily, and she dies. The realization that his wife is dead by his hand makes Othello lose the will to live he stabs Iago wounding him. They prevent him from killing Iago, and he eventually stabs himself to death. He falls beside his wife who was faithful to him but dead because of his jealousy. Othello seems to be more jealous since his actions are as a result of his belief in his wife infidelity. Iago, on the other hand, is a villain whose level of jealousy is not easy to determine since his motivation is purely for evil purposes other than jealousy alone.