Honor, along with envy, is probably the biggest theme in Othello. It is either present or non-existent within each character in the play. Moreover, honor versus reputation is a prominent theme as well.
Honor is having personal values andmorals. Also, it's doing what's right no matter what the circumstances. Reputation is simply what others thinkof you.
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What others think of you is not necessarily always truthful. Iago is a perfect example that the difference between reputation and honor is like the difference between appearance and reality. Iago has a wonderful reputation, but no true honor. He is a monster who really could not care about his honor. In Act II, Othello says "Iago is most honest" (2.3,p. 41, line 7).
Also in that same scene Cassio calls Iago "honest Iago" (2.3, p. 52, line 335). These two quotes show that Iago's reputation is quitegood. The other characters in the play think quite highly of him. Both Cassio and Othellogo to Iago for advice and help because they find him to be a very honest man. However,they are being fooled because in their doing that, it is only helping Iago with his treacherous plan. It's very ironic that they trust him so highly while all Iago is doing is trying his best in order to deceive them.
Iago is one of the characters that has absolutely no honor. Unlike with Cassio and Othello, Iago's honor cannot be disputed. It simplydoes not exist within him. He is indeed the villain. For other characters in the play, especially Othello, it is tougher to distinguish betweenhonor and reputation.
Cassio is another character in which it is hard to decide whether heis really honorable or if it is just his reputation. He is personified as a loyal man and the"honorable lieutenant" but as I said earlier, those things are not necessarily true. In myopinion, I find Cassio to be an honorable man. Yes, he does mistreat Bianca and uses her for his own purposes but that is the only thing I find to be dishonorable about him. Now, I do not know if that one thing makes him dishonorable overall but I feel thatit shouldn't.
He never wronged Othello, Desdemona, or Iago. It is true that Cassiodoes set much store upon reputation as is said in Act II, scene iii. Cassio says "Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation" (2.
3, p. 50, line 261-164). He does care very much about what othersthink of him, but in this case I think what people say of Cassio is true. Therefore,I find Cassio to be an honorable character. Roderigo, on the other hand, I feel tomost certainly be dishonorable.
He knew of Iago's plan, not entirely, but he still knewit was wrong yet he went along with it anyways. He did it because of his love for Desdemona, but that does not make it right. Honor is doing what's right no matterwhat! If Roderigo had honor, he would have gone about things in a different way and not helped Iago hurt others. .