Iago As Evil In William Shakespeare's Othello

1840 words - 7 pages

Iago as Evil in William Shakespeare's Othello

"Othello" is famously regarded as one of Shakespeare's greatest
tragedies. It explores the downfall of a great general Othello through
a series of unlucky circumstances. Othello's character shows a man of
high status whose job, marriage and life is ruined because of his
insecurities by a man named Iago. Iago (Othello's ensign) is able to
manipulate Othello, Othello's wife Desdemona and his own friend
Roderigo (a Venetian gentleman). He uses Desdemona's love of Othello
and Roderigo's money with his secret love for Desdemona, to manipulate
them towards his own good. He is a psychotic driven to kill, from
strangers on a battlefield to his wife in Othello's bedroom. In the
end he ends up with loosing everything he ever had, taking everyone
else and their lives with him.

Othello is the general of an army. He is a characterised as a "moor";
he is seen as being alternately or simultaneously noble or monstrous,
civil or savage. We know that he is black. He is the odd one out and
is insecure because of his race. Othello was most probably a Muslim
originally but there is evidence in the play that he rejected this
religion in order to become more accepted in society. He comes from
Venice. He is the general of a Venetian army, has power but only to a
certain degree. He is good at his job and that's why he is where he
is. These are the few facts we know about Othello. In Act 1 Scene 1,
Iago and Roderigo are arguing about Othello. They both seem to have
separate complaints about the same person. Iago is arguing over the
fact that he did not receive the job in the army that he wanted. He
thought that Othello being his friend, surely he would get the job.
However, in Othello's eyes Michael Cassio (a Florentine lieutenant)
seemed better for the job. Roderigo argues that he deserves to take
Desdemona's hand in marriage. His secret love for her drives him crazy
inside at every sight he sees her and Othello together. During this
Othello is described as an old black ram, "Even now, now, very now, an
old black ram". Iago thinks that Othello is too old and that he will
not be around with his job for long. The play would have opened up
with this conversation in the dark. It goes with the low yet angry
dark toned language that Iago uses, "Rouse him, make after him, poison
his delight" also "In personal suit to make me his lieutenant; off
capped to him". He is irritated after not getting the position in the
army. While this was all going on Othello and Desdemona were secretly
getting married. Roderigo and Iago hear of this news and go straight
to Brabantio, Desdemona's father, to wake him and tell him of his
daughter's whereabouts. The swearing and shouting by Iago and Roderigo
towards Brabantio, would catch the attention of the audience. They
would be eager...

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