How does Iago plant his poison on Othello’s mind about Desdemona’s infidelity? Iago manages to plant poison in Othello’s mind by doing it gradually. In Act III scene III, we can see that his plan is going well as he convinces the Moor that Desdemona are having a love affair with Cassio. These two are actually not having a love affair but Iago manages to make Othello think they are by lying and placing the handkerchief in Cassio’s room. Iago attempts to lure Othello’s mind by saying “Ha! I like not that” (line 35). Iago tries to catch Othello’s attention by warning him.
Here, Iago tries to convince Othello that something bad is going on between Desdemona and Cassio. He achieves what he wanted as Othello responds “What dost thou say? ”. By saying that it is clear that Iago caught his attention. When Desdemona tries to convince her husband that Cassio should be forgiven, Othello expresses his opinion ““Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul/But I do love thee; and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again” (line 90). This is dramatic irony as later on Othello will stop loving Desdemona and because of this he falls in a chaotic madness.
Iago attempts to make Othello think about Cassio and Desdemona, but then he backs out so that Othello would not be suspicious about him. This is an outstanding technique which will help Iago plant his poison on Othello’s mind. He starts by saying “Did Michael Cassio, When you wooed my lady, Know of your love? ” (line 95), and when Othello suspiciously responds, he replies “But for a satisfaction of my thought, No further harm”(line 97). Here Iago manages to plant the poison with the first line, and backs up with the next line. After, it is clear that Othello is fully vulnerable to Iago.
This is because Othello shows his trust towards him “If thou dost love me, Show me thy thought” (line 116). When Iago answers “My lord, you know I love you. ” (line 118), Othello communicates his trust “I think thou dost;” (line 119). Here Iago acknowledges the fact that Othello is trusting him at the moment and this makes him vulnerable to Iago’s poison. After this, Iago makes an unexpected move. He says “For Michael Cassio, I dare be sworn I think that he is honest” (line 125). This is very unexpected but Iago knows what he is doing as he is again trying to reassure every doubt Othello has on him.
Iago’s unexpected tactic reveals to be very effective. This is because Othello asks, “Nay, yet there’s more in this. I prithee speak to me as to thy thinkings, As thou dost ruminate, and give thy worst of thoughts, The worst of words. ” (line 135). Othello wants Iago to be honest. This is very ironic as Iago was being honest when he was saying that Cassio was not guilty. This represents the poison that is corrupting Othello’s mind, which doesn’t let him understand when Iago is being honest or not. Iago manages to catch Othello’s full attention by taking advantage of Othello’s request to be honest.
As a matter of fact Iago says “Good my lord, pardon me, Though I am bound to every act of duty I am not bound to that all slaves are free to. ” (line 138). Iago makes Othello think that he is trying to help Cassio by not telling the truth to him. Here we can see the incredible manipulative skills Iago has on Othello. Iago plants more poison on Othello’s mind when he mutters, “I am glad of this, for now I shall have reason To show the love and duty that I bear you With franker spirit” (line198). He expresses his gladness that Othello is starting to doubt on Desdemona.
Iago also insist on the fact that he is fully devoted to Othello. As Othello states “I am bound to thee forever” (line 220), there is evidence that Iago won his battle and that Othello is now completely poisoned by him. Iago’s plan to achieve Othello’s rank seems to be closer as there is this imagery of Othello, whom has a higher rank than Iago, telling him that he owes Iago. Furthermore, in the play Othello would kneel in front of Iago whilst saying this. This shows a complete change of role of the two characters as at the beginning of the play it was Iago that would kneel to Othello.
Later in the play, Othello tells Desdemona that he is not feeling well and Desdemona tries to wrap a handkerchief on Othello’s head. However it falls on the floor and Emilia, who was asked by Iago to get the handkerchief for him, picks it up. The reader is reminded that Emilia knows nothing about Iago’s plan as she says, “I’ll have the work ta’en out And give ’t Iago. What he will do with it Heaven knows, not I. I nothing but to please his fantasy” (line 305). At this point of the play it seems that Iago only married Emilia to use her in his masterful strategies. Also, it is clear that Iago manipulates her too.