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When the Ivory Tower Crumbles

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An immense amount of wealth held by an heir, can often attract people with malicious intent. Roderigo, a wealthy young bachelor, in Shakespeare’s Othello, is deceived by himself and by Iago. He believes his riches can win over Desdemona, and his foolishness makes him fall victim to Iago’s cruel plans.

Roderigo is immediately discovered to have a seething hatred for Othello. He hates him because he has courted Desdemona and made her unavailable to him. Also, Roderigo reveals that he is racist, he uses derogatory words to Othello, such as “thick-lips” (I.i.67) and believes it is impossible for a white women to love a black man without the use of magic. Roderigo is completely delusional in believing he still has a chance with Desdemona, because even her father does not want him and says to him, “The worser welcome:/ I have charged thee not to haunt about my doors:.” (I.i.96-97). Roderigo is not used to be told no; and his downfall is caused by the inability to accept the love between Othello and Desdemona. He is unable to accept this love because he believes his wealth alone will attract Desdemona. Roderigo uses Iago as his personal henchman to get Desdemona into his arms. Little does Roderigo know, Iago uses him to better himself and Iago tells the audience, “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse./ For I mine own gained knowledge should profane/ If I would time expend with such a snipe/ But for my sport and profit.” (I.iii.377-380). Because Roderigo is a rich, young, and foolish bachelor, machiavellian Iago is able to take advantage of the fact Roderigo has never experienced the cruelties of the world like him. That is why he is so gullible and takes Iago’s words as fact. Roderigo is also so desperate for love that he immediately does not realize Iago’s schemes. When he begins to become suspicious to Iago’s plans, Iago once again convinces him that he is not the enemy, but rather Micheal Cassio. When Roderigo realizes Iago’s plans it is too late, Iago has killed him.

Roderigo is a tragic character. He is hopelessly in love with a married woman and falls easily victim to Iago’s smooth talking. The reader can conclude that Roderigo’s foolishness stems from his wealth and his upbringing. He was probably told as a child that he could have anything in the world, and as grown man he had never learned that was not the case. Perhaps others can learn from Roderigo; they can learn to make conscious decisions and remember people are not always as trustworthy as they seem.


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