Iago Of William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

1337 words - 5 pages

Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello

Iago has a great understanding of people and how they will react to
different situations and this skill allows him to control the action
so neatly that it as if is he himself is the playwright. He has no
regard for the thoughts of others and skilfully manipulates those
around him to trick them to play a part in a strategy he has so
meticulously planned, for example, the brawl scene. But by no means
does he carry out his plans regardless of other events; if an
opportunity to achieve any of his desires arises then he immediately
takes hold of it and uses it to his advantage.

Iago is an excellent representation of the Vice character of drama.
Shakespeare is brilliant in his transformation of the handsome, fairly
two-dimensional rogue in Cinthio's original to the evil egotist who
preys on human emotions, a character so deep he could undergo
psychological analysis. Indeed is can, and has been said, "Iago is the
spirit of negation set against the spirit of creation," Geoffrey
Wilson Knight. He shows immense wit throughout the play but uses this
gift and his graft of words for pure evil and to bring about human
suffering, something he sadistically enjoys. This idea of intelligent
and scheming subordinates would have worried the Jacobean audience who
relied strongly on the class structure.

S.T. Coleridge's interpretation of Iago's character, "(Iago shows) the
motive hunting of a motiveless malignity" cannot be seen as entirely
true as to call Iago motiveless would be false. It could be said has
too many motives that lead him to construct ways of bringing about
people's downfalls. He feels betrayed by his wife, and convinces
himself that both Othello and Cassio have cuckolded him. He is
resentful of Othello's and Cassio's successes and his deeply racist
nature leads him to resent Othello all the more as can be seen from
his racist comments and repetition of "Moor" to describe him. These
motives lead him to hate the other characters so much as to gain a
sadistic pleasure at their misfortune.

Everybody is slightly egotist, it is (a bad?) part of human nature,
each of us is our favourite subject, however, Iago's sense of egotism
is grossly inflamed. He cares about nobody but himself and even his
wife, who he should at least have a little love for is treated with
sexist disdain. He is cloaked in lies and deceit and all his
relationships with people result in his gain, and usually their loss.
His acting is so skilful and convincing that even his wife doesn't
truly know him and Othello and Cassio refer to him as "honest Iago",
ironically far from his real character. His self pride and arrogance
is apparent in his scorn for the characters around him, shown by his
frequent references to animals and his disdain erring obsession for
their sexual...

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