“We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal.”
Othello’s Iago is one smooth criminal. Slowly as the play progresses we can see the unraveling of his bad-guy plan as he schemes and backbites about people as soon as they leave the room.
And the reason Iago is able to influence characters in the play is because he makes it seem as though he actually likes them, and thus they trust him. Trust. You can build everything with it and you can destroy anything with it. But do individuals like Iago exist in our everyday lives? It seems as though Iago’s main reason for trying to ruin Othello and Cassio is because he suspects that they both have slept with his (Iago’s) wife Emilia. There is, of course, no actual evidence of this but Iago believes it none the less. Iago is also jealous of Cassio for the position he claims in the army, which Iago thinks he deserves. Besides this, it appears that Iago’s motives are simply out of sheer hatred and the lack of anything better to do with his life.
I do think there definitely are people out their who find excuses to carry out their selfish acts to make other people’s lives miserable. But does that mean we should live our lives as Tennessee Williams stated, always doubting others as a defense against betrayal?
Even if this were the case, betrayals would still most likely occur, as sad as it is. And yet, it is not the case. Not everyone (in fact, not most people) caries a sense of doubt with them everywhere that they go (that would be quite depressing, and kind of stressful). Good people get hurt, taken advantage of and betrayed all the time. Its simply the way the world works, unfortunately.
So my question is, how do we sort out the liars?