In the play Othello, the most powerful emotion is anger. This emotion helps to establish the plot, as it plays a vital role. Three characters that it affects in the play are Othello, Iago and Roderigo. All the characters vent their anger through violence and confrontations.
Othello vents most of his anger by smothering Desdemona to death when she is on her deathbed. His anger slowly built up during the play, due to Iago falsely convincing him that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. It all starts when Othello sees Cassio and Desdemona together and Iago starts hinting at the possibility of an affair without actually coming out and saying it. “O beware, my lord, of jealousy! / It is the green-eyes monster, which doth mock / The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss / Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger” (3.3.163-166). In this quote, Iago is telling Othello not be jealous of Desdemona, however in reality, he does want him to be jealous. The idea of jealousy probably wouldn’t have entered his mind if it were not for Iago saying that. Iago also brings up the idea of Desdemona cheating on him here. He mentions cuckold, which means a man cheated sexually by his wife. Later on, Iago continues to torment Othello about Desdemona and Cassio. “Lie with her? Lie on her? We say lie on her when they / belie her. Lie with her? Zounds, that’s fulsome! It is not words that shakes me thus! Pish! / Noses, ears, and lips! Is’t possible? – Confess? / Handkerchief! O devil” (4.1.35-36,41-43)! This shows that Othello is becoming completely overwhelmed by his passion and is getting very angry with Cassio and Desdemona. In the end, Othello becomes totally outraged and murders Desdemona by smothering her with a pillow. He also goes on to kill himself. Thus, his anger is vented through violence.
Iago’s anger leads to jealousy which leads to him corrupting Othello’s mind for his own personal gain. Iago loved Desdemona, but Othello and her were already married, which created a problem for him, that he thought he could overcome. He believed that Othello and Desdemona should not be married and that he should be the one married to Desdemona. This also leads him to hate Othello (1.3.376-397). This hatred and anger towards Othello causes him to falsely convince Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. His anger is so strong that he draws in Roderigo to play around with as a pawn. He had him draw Cassio into a fight to get Cassio fired. “If I can fasten but one cup upon him, / With that which he hath drunk tonight already, / He’ll be as full of quarrel and offence / As my young mistress’ dog. Now my sick fool Roderigo” (2.3.44-47). This shows how he doesn’t care what the consequences are to anybody else are, it is just the matter of how he achieves his own way. It also shows how he does not hesitate to bring anyone into his plan, even if it means that person’s life is at stake. Thus, his anger is vented though non-physical violence.
Roderigo’s anger seems to lean more towards Iago than anyone else. In the beginning, Roderigo is upset with Iago because he believes that Iago has cheated him. Later, at the end of act two, he threatens to “with no money / at all, and a little more wit, return again to Venice” (2.3.357-358). Here, Roderigo is angry about the way he has been beaten, and he threatens to return Venice. A little bit earlier, Iago had made Roderigo draw Cassio into a fight, so Cassio would get demoted. Roderigo was unaware of the consequences is quite upset about Iago not informing him of everything. In act four, Roderigo states that he “will no longer endure it. / Nor is he yet persuaded to put in peace what already / he has foolishly suffered” (4.3.177-179). Roderigo just keeps getting more angry with Iago. At the beginning of act five, Roderigo is overwhelmed with anger and rage that he and Cassio engage in a scuffle and Roderigo ends