In the beginning of act 1 Iago tells Roderigo that he puts on an act, hides his true intentions, and that he’s really out for himself while working under lords and lining his own pockets.
Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago:In following him,
I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end:Othello Act 1
Iago’s hatred for Othello seems to stem from the fact that he was passed up on a promotion to Lieutenant, and he suspects his wife Emilia has cheated on him with Othello. This is just a suspicion though, and it hasn’t been clarified yet. Iago plans to take revenge on Othello, his first step in act 1 is to tell Brabantio about Othello and Desdemona, he tells him, “an old black ram is tupping your white ewe”. So, if Iago is plotting against Othello because he was passed on the position of Lieutenant, and he really believes that his wife cheated on him, then Othello’s race might factor into his hatred for him. But Iago himself tells Roderigo that he hides his real intentions, his true self, and is simply follows himself. He seems like a very Machiavellian villain, so my question is do you believe that he is telling the truth to Roderigo about his reasons for going after Othello, or is he just manipulating Roderigo to get him on his side. Like I said before it hasn’t been clarified if Othello slept his wife, which seems doubtful based on who Iago is as a character. Does he specifically use language like “an old black ram” while talking to Brabantio to enflame his anger even more? Perhaps he really is angry because he wasn’t promoted, getting in the way of his rise through the ranks, and in Machiavellian fashion he uses everything to his advantage like manipulation and cunning to take out his rivals, manipulating the other characters and playing on their weaknesses.