Roderigo hast had my purse, as if the

Roderigo is a minor character in William Shakespeare’s play ‘Othello.’ He is a rich man who pursues the wrong woman and is friendly with the wrong man.

Learn more about the character Roderigo in this lesson.

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Introducing Iago

What would you do for love? Would you give all you have in pursuit of the person of your dreams? Would you put your trust in someone else to make your romantic dreams come true? If your love is not returned to you, it might cause you to behave in uncharacteristic ways. In William Shakespeare’s popular play Othello, a man named Roderigo places his romantic future in the hands of a trusted friend but ends up losing his money and his life.

Character Analysis

The play Othello begins with an argument between two men, Iago and Roderigo. Roderigo is upset because he has learned the woman he wants to love, Desdemona has married another man, Othello. Roderigo states, ‘never tell me; I take it much unkindly, that thou, Iago, who hast had my purse, as if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this’ (Act 1, Scene 1, lines 1-3). Roderigo feels his friend Iago, who is helping him win the love of Desdemona, should know about what is happening in Desdemona’s life.

Iago defends himself by explaining Desdemona’s marriage to Othello was sudden, and he had no knowledge of it. In order to protect his interests, Iago convinces Roderigo to inform Desdemona’s father of his daughter’s new marriage to cause friction.When Roderigo gives Iago jewelry to take to Desdemona, Iago sells the jewelry for money. When Roderigo realizes he no longer has the chance to marry Desdemona, he decides he will drown himself. Iago talks him out of harming himself and instead suggests that he trick Desdemona into going to bed with him by dressing in disguise and having lots of money, which he agrees to do.Iago then suggests Roderigo behave courageously to win Desdemona’s love.

Iago also claims Desdemona is in love with a lieutenant named Cassio. Iago convinces Roderigo to make Cassio angry and make him lose his job. Although Roderigo grows tired of Iago’s requests of him, he does everything Iago asks of him. When he realizes all of his antics are not getting him closer to seeing Desdemona, Roderigo says he will not follow through with Iago’s plan anymore.

Roderigo decides to talk to Desdemona about no longer pursuing her if he can get his jewelry returned to him. (He also threatens Iago if the jewelry is not returned to him.) Instead of sticking to his plan, Roderigo lets Iago convince him to kill Cassio in order to win Desdemona.Roderigo is a gullible man. He believes everything Iago tells him without doubting Iago’s motives. Instead of killing Cassio, Roderigo cuts him and is wounded severely himself.

In the end, Roderigo is murdered by Iago and can only state, ‘O damn’d Iago! O inhuman dog!’ (Act 5, Scene 1, line 62). After his death, no one seems to care about the loss of Roderigo.

Lesson Summary

Roderigo is a gullible, rich man who decides that he will win the love of the beautiful lady Desdemona by buying her gifts. He pays a man, Iago, to assist him in winning Desdemona’s love. Instead of doing things in favor of Roderigo, Iago uses Roderigo’s money to advance his own objective. Roderigo did not use reasoning in making decisions; he ends up dying after being taken advantage of by Iago.


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