This is the question we ask ourselves while reading Shakespeares Othello. Throughout the play Iagos mission is revealed as trying to strip Othello of all honor, and reduce him to his bestial state. Iago sees Othello as a beat from the beginning of the play and is determined to expose him to everyone. In order for the world to see what Iago already views Othello as, Iago intends to persuade Othello to violate his code of honor; the honor which is the only thing that separates the beasts from the men. Ironically, as Iago tries to coax the beat out of Othello by making him violate his code of justice, we see that Othellos bestiality was there all along.
From the beginning of the play, Iagos view of Othello as a beast is obvious. Iago repeatedly describe Othello in terms of animals. When Iago tries to anger Brabantio when news of his daughter marrying the Moor erupts, Iago describe his new son-in-law in vulgar, bestial terms. Iago says Even now, now, very now, an old black ram… is tuping your white ewe. (I.1 lines 89-90) He also states youll have your daughter coverd with a Barbary horse; .youll have your nephews neigh to you; youll have coursers for cousins and gennets for germans. (I.1 lines 110-114)
Iago truly thinks Othello a beast, as he even refers to Othello in animal terms when he is by himself. In Iagos soliloquy at the end of Act 1, Iago says that Othello will as tenderly be led by thnose; as asses are. (I.3 lines 395-396)
Everyone else sees Othello a man of justice who is spoken of by the Duke as he says, If virtue no delighted beauty lack, Your son-in-law is far more fair than black (I.3 lines 330-331) Iago is determined to bring out the beast in Othello, as he sees it is more just for everyone to know Othello for what he truly s, a beast. Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me; for making him egregiously an ass. (II.2 lines 302-303)
Just as everyone views Iago as honest Iago everyone holds Othello in high regards. We see how wrong the characters can be as they do not see the true evil inside Iago, we are implored to think that Othello truly is evil as well.
Early in the play Iago realizes that Othellos idea of honor is intertwined with his concept of justice. Othello, more than any other character in the play, is obsessed with justice. Iago recognizes this; he realizes that for Othello to become a beast he has to violate his own sense of justice. With this realization, Iago concocts his plan to have Othello murder Desdemona. He is convinced that in wrongfully murdering his wife, Othellos manhood will be destroyed and his beastiality will be exposed.