Othello Act V Summary Response
- In Act Five of Othello, William Shakespeare proves jealousy can rule over a character's life. Iago decides to take revenge upon Othello because Iago is in love with Othello and knows his love will never be returned in the same way. This revenge is represented in his continual sabotage of Othello’s marriage, to the concept that his loyalties lie with Othello, not his own wife, Emilia. In Act Five, Iago turns on his wife to protect his reputation in Othello’s eyes and therefore demonstrates there is no conceivable way Iago can be in love with Emilia, who he can sacrifice without blinking an eye. In Othello, Shakespeare leads his readers to believe Iago is out for revenge because of a denied promotion, while his motives are much deeper and possibly not known to the character himself.
- Othello, by William Shakespeare, accurately portrays how a character can have underlying motives for their actions because of Iago’s hatred for Othello is powered by his unrequited love for Othello. Claim 1:
- Iago’s hatred of Othello seems to have begun when Othello denied him the position of lieutenant, when in fact that rejection only fanned fire. Iago was then consumed by his need for revenge, causing him to devise a plan for Othello’s demise. This plan was almost completed when Othello fell prey to Iago’s deceptions and killed his wife, Desdemona. All of Iago’s hard work was ruined when his wife, Emilia, revealed Iago’s lies. Up until that point, Othello had believed Iago was faithful to him, not trying to ruin his life, nor make him question his sanity. Emilia tried to defend Desdemona’s honor by revealing Desdemona never cheated on Othello, but this only resulted in anger from Othello and Iago both.
- In his fury, Iago exclaimed “Villainous whore… Filth, thou liest!” (Shakespeare 5.2.273,276).
- Iago’s misogynistic words and actions are repeated throughout the entire play. Iago treats Emilia like a tool, he only kept around as long as she is useful. Additionally, Iago speaks directly to his wife, someone who he has vowed to love and cherish, which only reveals the extent of his misogyny. The misogyny only further proves Iago’s homosexuality. Iago hated women because they were the only ones standing in the way of his happiness with Othello. Iago seems to take great pleasure in the unhappiness present in Othello’s marriage and strives to make it permanent. Throughout the play, Iago has done nothing but sabotage Othello and Desdemona’s relationship. He may not be aware of his subconscious desires, but he makes it undeniably sure Othello is not able to achieve happiness in his romantic endeavors, because Iago cannot in his. Thus proving Iago’s homosexuality.
- Counterclaim 1:
- On the other hand, Iago had a wife, contradicting the possibility he is homosexual.
- After Othello kills Desdemona, Emilia tries to persuade Othello that Desdemona never cheated on him. When Othello informed her Iago was the one who first suspected Desdemona of cheating, Emilia was astounded Iago never told her about his suspicions. This news was new to Emilia, causing her to question everything she has come to know about Emilia and Iago both.
- Evidence: In disbelief she asked, “ My husband?” (Shakespeare 5.2.171).
- Although Iago being homosexual would explain his behavior towards Desdemona, it is impossible for him to be gay. Iago is married to Emilia, who he vows to love and be devoted to for the rest of their lives. While they may not have the happiest of marriages, Iago has put his full trust in her. During Act Three, Iago trusts Emilia to retrieve Desdemona’s handkerchief and she reciprocates the trust by not disclosing that she gave the handkerchief to Iago when Desdemona realizes that it is missing. This kind of unconditional trust can only stem from romantic love between Emilia and Iago. Therefore, Iago cannot be homosexual.
- A common view is that Iago could not be homosexual, as he has a wife. This is a reasonable assumption because Iago and Emilia seem to have a mutual trust for each other, but their marriage is clearly an unhappy one. While Iago trusts Emilia, he treats her like dirt and never once tell her that he loves her. Although Iago never verbalized his love for Emilia, he made absolutely certain the Othello knew of Iago’s love for him. “My lord, you know I love you.” (Shakespeare 3.3.123). In Act Three, Iago profusely professes his love for Othello and expertly masks it as loyalty, not romantic love. Consequently, Iago is undeniably homosexual. Othello by William Shakespeare portrays how a character can have deep, unspoken feelings that rule over their lives.