We all know that most, if not all, of William Shakespeare's tragedies, are, well, tragic. They all seem to have the same endings. His tragedies all end in some tremendous catastrophe resulting in death. In dramas like Othello, there are certain things the author uses to add tension and suspense, hinting at events to come in the story. Foreshadowing is commonly used in writing to prepare the reader for a shocking discovery. In other cases, foreshadowing is used to convey the overall theme of the story. In Othello, Shakespeare uses foreshadowing to reveal how love and respect can so easily be turned into hate and betrayal, ultimately leading to death. Iago's friendship with Othello, Desdemona's Willow Song, and Othello's last words before his and Desdemona's death are all examples of how foreshadowing is used to interpret the theme throughout the story. .
Primarily, in Othello's eyes, Iago is his trusted ensign. Othello and Iago were the closest of friends and partners, up until Iago was replaced with Cassio. All at once, Iago loses all the trust and respect he and Othello had and, thus, saw Othello, Desdemona, and Cassio as enemies, linking all three in his plan of revenge. Just by reading about their close friendship, it wasn't hard to tell that something was going to ruin it, given that this story is a tragedy. Iago then foreshadows his plans for Othello to Roderigo, "O, sir, content you. I follow him to serve my turn upon him (Act 1, Scene 1)". And, "Were I the Moor I would not be Iago. In following him I follow but myself; Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, but seeming so for my peculiar end. For when my outward action doth demonstrate the native act and figure of my heart in compliment extern, 'tis not long after but I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at. I am not what I am. Iago already realizes that Othello thinks of him as an honest man. He also explains that there will never come a day where he will let himself be vulnerable and that people who are what they seem are foolish.