Character of Roderigo in Othello

An Instrument

Roderigo is a Venetian young man in the play “Othello” who is used as a primary instrument by Iago to reach the end of his own evil plot.

Unlike Emily who feels obliged to Iago and unknowingly partners in his destructive plan, being his wife, Rodrigo voluntarily becomes a part of it in a hope to fulfil his own dream through it, which is to marry Desdemona even though he is not connected with Iago in any way. 

One-sided Lover

Through Roderigo, Shakespeare portrays those who live in their own assumed reality. Rodrigo is one of those modern days one-sided lovers. He feeds illusion to an extent that he refuses to see the love Desdemona has for Othello and desires for her unnecessarily.

Shakespeare, through his character, displays how damaging can foolishness be. He is self-conceited. It is his fancied and shallow idea of love that leads him to engage in fruitless attempts and let an opportunist and cunning man like Iago to easily exploit him for his own interest.

Coward and Timid

Roderigo is coward and timid who is incapable of leading his own life. He prefers to become a puppet in the hands of Iago and lets him decide his own passage of actions.

Even his wealth becomes yet another way for his exploitation. Iago cheats him of his gifts and money and pretends to forward it to Desdemona.

When asked by Iago to engage Cassio in a street brawl with himself, he agrees without a second thought. He is used by Iago for the accomplishment of the idlest and baseless of all his filthy acts.

Lacks Moral Judgement

He possesses no faculty of moral judgement and stoops to the level of trying to kill Cassio for no reason. He fails to know the seeming fact that a man like Iago has no integrity and wouldn’t even spare him from his venom. His thoughtlessness reaches its peak when he himself gets killed by Iago. 

Roderigo’s character is sketched almost as a pawn in the hands of Iago. In the end, when he sees that Iago is going to kill him, he comes to understand the whole picture and he cries out at him, calling him “inhuman dog.”

His character is a common character which stands no chance in front of supreme manipulative intelligence of someone like Iago.