Dangers of Jealousy
Quote: "I follow him to serve my turn upon him: / We cannot all be masters, nor all masters / cannot be truly follow'd. You shall mark / Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave / That doting on his own obsequious bondage, / Wears out his time, much like his master's ass..." (Act I, Scene 1).
Analysis: Iago explains his strategy to Roderigo and justifies his treachery. He resents those above him, following them simply to harm them. He defends his actions by stating in the end, his "masters" will discard him if he fails to get the upper hand now. This resentment of those above him may explain his villainy toward Othello, the respected military leader of Venice; Cassio, a lieutenant promoted over Iago; and Roderigo, a rich, but stupid nobleman. Iago uses a simile comparing servants to donkeys to emphasize the mistreatment of those without power.
Quote: "I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter / and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs." (Act I, Scene 1).
Analysis: Iago stirs up trouble between Brabantio and Othello. His crude euphemistic metaphor highlights Iago's crassness and his desire to harm those above him in society.
Quote: "She gave me for my pains a world of sighs: / She swore,--in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange; / 'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful: / She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wished / That heaven made her such a man" (Act I, Scene 3).
Analysis: Othello recounts to the court his wooing of Desdemona. The repetition of 'twas combined with Desdemona's "world of sighs" establishes a dreamlike mood. It's as though Othello cannot believe he has successfully wooed the much sought after nobleman's daughter. The paradoxical use of "wondrous pitiful" and she "wished not yet wished" also contributes to the dreamlike mood established by the Moor.