In William Shakespeare’s Othello, the protagonist of the same name was a general in Venice. He promoted Florentine Michael Cassio to a higher position of personal lieutenant instead of his friend Iago. This, of course, incurred the ire of Iago. He plotted against Othello and Cassio’s by enlisting the help of Roderigo, the spurned suitor of Desdemona (Othello’s fiancée).
Iago sowed intrigues between Desdemona and Othello and Othello and Cassio. Iago made Othello jealous by insinuating that Desdemona and Cassio was having an affair. It so inflamed Othello that he decided to kill Desdemona by strangling her, also upon the suggestion of Iago. Cassio got wounded by Roderigo and the death of Desdemona.
Othello later learned belatedly from Emilia, Iago’s wife, that Iago manipulated all the stories. Othello wounded Iago then killed himself. Iago killed Emilia. Iago got imprisoned and Cassio was proclaimed the new governor of Cyrpus.
Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello provided a face to the chilling act on the ease with which communication could be easily twisted in order to create conflicts. Miscommunication could easily be brought upon by people with malicious intentions, people with no conscience and lives for their ulterior selfish motives. People such as Iago are guilty of treachery and falsehood.
Through Iago’s masterful and cunning manipulations, Othello committed the worst act of killing the one he loved most. Then in an act of repentance upon the discovery of truth on how Iago made up stories, he killed himself too. This tragic end goes to show the extent miscommunication could lead to in people’s relationships and lives.
Iago shows a side that is inherent in some people. We can relate to Othello’s plight as we, ourselves, experienced intrigues sown by other people. We hear criticisms, unfair judgment, backbiting and other acts of manipulations. In the process, we feel hurt. We lose friends. We got alienated even to the point of being ostracized. Such is the effect of miscommunication that every person could relate to.
The breakdown of communication such as in the case of Iago would have been greatly reduced if Othello took the time to talk and listen to his beloved Desdemona and his friend, Cassio’s side. The negative consequences of miscommunication would have been avoided if Othello remained objective all along and not let his emotions took over.
Somehow, Othello’s rush judgment offers us a lesson on what to do in the face of intrigues and manipulations.
At some point in our lives, we all come across people who would misunderstand us and our motives. We meet people who have no qualms hurting us and our loved ones by spreading vicious lies. Betrayal is not confined to Iago alone. In our lives, it is almost a certainty that we would stumble across a few Iago’s and fall victim to their wiles. Therefore, it is imperative then that we ready ourselves for such eventuality. We do not want to end up as clueless as Othello.
Basically, to lessen the impact of manipulations I believe it is important to maintain objectivity all throughout. Then weigh options available well before deciding which one to follow. Had Othello took the time to observe with his own eyes and not through someone’s prodding what was actually taking place then he would have avoided the tragic end that he and Desdemona met. He should have gotten to the heart of the matter first before making rush decisions.