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The Moor is arrested, transported from Cyprus to Venice, and tortured, but refuses to admit his guilt.
The role is thought to have been first played by Robert Armin, who typically played intelligent clown roles like Touchstone in As You Like It or Feste in Twelfth Night.
While no English translation of Cinthio was available in Shakespeare's lifetime, it is possible Shakespeare knew the Italian original, Gabriel Chappuy's 1584 French translation, or an English translation in manuscript.
Robert Armin Edwin Booth Laurence Olivier Kenneth Branagh Christopher Eccleston Frank Finlay Josh Hartnett Philip Seymour Hoffman Henry Irving Jose Ferrer Micheál Mac Liammóir Ian Mc Diarmid Ewan Mc Gregor Ian Mc Kellen Lucian Msamati Nicholas Pennell Christopher Walken Bob Hoskins Rory Kinnear Daniel Craig Liev Schreiber Saif Ali Khan) is a fictional character in Shakespeare's Othello (c. Iago is the play's main antagonist, and Othello's standard-bearer.
He is the husband of Emilia, who is in turn the attendant of Othello's wife Desdemona.
The ensign escapes any prosecution in Desdemona's death, but engages in other crimes and dies after being tortured.
Iago is a soldier who has fought beside Othello for several years, and has become his trusted advisor.” Iago has been described as a "motiveless malignity" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.This reading would seem to suggest that Iago, much like Don John in Much Ado About Nothing or Aaron in Titus Andronicus, wreaks havoc on the other characters' lives for no ulterior purpose.In Cinthio's tale, for example, the ensign suffers an unrequited lust for the Moor's wife, Desdemona, which then drives his vengeance.Desdemona dies in an entirely different manner in Cinthio's tale; the Moor commissions his ensign to bludgeon her to death with a sand-filled stocking.After Iago engineers a drunken brawl to ensure Cassio's demotion (in Act 2), he sets to work on his second scheme: leading Othello to believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio.This plan occupies the final three acts of the play.The ensign then seeks revenge by disclosing to "the squadron leader" (the tale's Cassio counterpart), the Moor's involvement in Desdemona's death.The two men denounce the Moor to the Venetian Seignory.Iago then leads Othello to believe that a bawdy conversation about Cassio's mistress, Bianca, is in fact about Desdemona.Mad with jealousy, Othello orders Iago to kill Cassio, promising to make him lieutenant in return.