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Word Count: 1,270
The character Iago ominously mutters the words I am not what I am at the beginning of William Shakespeares Othello the Moor of Venice Ii65 What Iago means by these words so early in the play is a bit ambiguous but as one reads on many interpretations ensue That very phrase becomes a subtle but powerful theme all throughout the tragic story that unfolds and not only in regards to Iago but also to Cassio Desdemona and especially Othello himself Throughout the play Iago systematically obliterates the realities each character has struggled so hard to construct Desdemona has in an emotive fit of passion and love for good story-telling betrayed her father to elope with a Moorish general seemingly smitten with the whimsy of adventure Cassio has structured his priorities strictly around perception--his reputation Finally above all while Othello has become very proud of his accomplishments in battle this justified confidence is overridden by his deep insecurities of alienation Beginning in Act II and on through Act V the fragile realities they have all created slowly chip away by the workings of Iago In this essence it is foolish to see Iago as evil or a devil but more reasonable to see him as the personification of Chaos He does little other than suggest and he demonstrates by doing so the frailty of these social facades--the perceived versus actual reality Desdemona enters the play in Act II Scene III as a commanding presence speaking before the Duke in defense of her new husband Othello Though she seems level-headed and confident Desdemona surrounds herself in a blinding cloud of whimsical desire for adventure and ideological duty Ideas rather than actuality guide her actions and her words Othello explains to the Duke before Desdemonas entrance She wished she had not heard itand bade me if I had a friend that loved her I should but teach him how to tell my story Iiii162-165 Her love
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