The play "Othello" begins on a street in Venice, in the midst of an argument between Roderigo and Iago. Roderigo has been paying Iago to help him court Desdemona, but Roderigo has just learned that Desdemona has married Othello, a general whom Iago begrudgingly serves as an ensign. Iago says he hates Othello, who recently passed him over for the position of lieutenant in favor of the inexperienced soldier Michael Cassio. .
Perhaps the most interesting and exotic character in the tragic play "Othello," by William Shakespeare, is Iago. Through some carefully thought-out words and actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a way that benefits him and moves him closer toward his goals. He is the main driving force in this play, pushing Othello and everyone else towards their tragic end. Throughout the play, Shakespeare develops Iago by giving him soliloquies that shows his true nature. Shakespeare also reveals Iago's true nature through his actions. .
Iago is not your ordinary villain. The role he plays is rather unique and complex, as well as smart. He is an expert judge of people and their characters and uses this to his advantage. For example, he knows Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and figures that he would do anything to have her as his own. In reference to Roderigo Iago says, "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse." [Act I, Scene III, Line 384] By playing on his hopes, Iago is able to swindle money and jewels from Roderigo. While using Roderigo to forward his other goals, Iago makes a substantial profit. He also thinks quickly on his feet and is able to improvise whenever something unexpected occurs. When Cassio takes hold of Desdemona's hand before the arrival of Othello, Iago says, "With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio." [Act II, Scene I, Line 176] His cunning and craftiness make him a truly dastardly villain indeed. .
Iago is also quick to recognize the advantages of trust and uses it as a tool to promote his purposes.