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William Shakespeare a master of drama knew all too well how to portray the conflicts of his characters Just as in life a few key persons control the tension on the stage The constant is to control or be controlled Three of his plays deal differently with the concept of manipulation by a single character In Macbeth it is Lady Macbeth who fiddles with her husbands head and encourages him to act out In Othello it is the evil Iago who feeds the title character with falsehoods to achieve his mischievous agenda And in Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra has Antony wrapped around her finger for reasons both complex and simple How do these actions of manipulation differ Iago is by far the coolest the most prepared and the most subtle manipulator Cleopatra is the most blatant and Lady Macbeth falls somewhere in between the two extremes Furthermore Othello eventually realizes he is being manipulated Antony never really acknowledges it most likely from stupidity and infatuation and Macbeth somewhat sees it and somewhat does not see it Let us examine these ideas further Othello is a play mainly void of subplots Its main struggle is the process Iago goes through to demean and destroy the title character If we examine every action of every character most of them are incited or encouraged by Iago The rousing up of Brabazio the quarreling between Cassio and Roderigo and the planting of the handkerchief which are all integral parts of the drama are inspired by Iago Most significant however is his control over Othello While the others may be pawns at his will it is most important for Iago to be the master of Othello since that is who he is trying to trick into treachery He does this by a calm and calculated manipulation It is the demented deviance of brilliance He pretends he is Othellos friend On a scale of manipulation this is about as
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