Shakespeare's Othello - Iago Essay
1670 Words7 Pages
We find in William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello an example of personified evil. He is the general’s ancient, Iago, and he wreaks havoc and destruction on all those under his influence.
Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” comment on how the character of Iago is the wholly expected type of villain for an Elizabethan audience:
Iago at once captures the attention of the spectator. He is the personification of the villain that Elizabethans had come to expect from Italian short stories and from Machiavellian commentary. Villains of this type, as well as those of domestic origin, had long been popular on the stage. From the days of the mystery and…show more content…
When in an outburst of hatred he soliloquizes that “I hate the Moor; / And it is thought abroad that twixt my sheets / He’s done my office,” Iago goes on to concede the unlikelihood of this charge. [. . .] The charge is so absurd, in fact, that we have to look into Iago himself for the origin of this jealous paranoia. (223)
And looking within Iago for the cause can yield the answer that the ancient is psychologically sick. In Shakespeare’s Four Giants Blanche Coles comments on the mental illness that appears to afflict the despicable Iago:
When such old time critics as H. N. Hudson, who wrote nearly a hundred years ago, saw that Iago was not acting from revenge, one is more than surprised to find modern critics, who have had the advantage of the progress that has been made in the study of abnormal psychology, accepting Iago for anything but what he is, and what Shakespeare intended him to be – a psychopathic personality. (79)
Evidence of his psychopathic personality is seen early in the play. He manipulates the wealthy Roderigo into awakening the senator Brabantio (“Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight”); and then he utters very offensive smutty lines about a black ram and white ewe, which indicate the way his sick mind operates. He seems to be motivated by love of money which he has been receiving from Roderigo for some time (“thou, Iago, who hast had my purse / As if the strings were
The Clever and Devious Iago of Othello Essays
609 Words3 Pages
In Othello, Iago serves as a clever manipulator. He uses his skills on the stupid and naïve Roderigo to get revenge on Othello. Iago’s main reason for his hatred of Othello is because he is passed over for the lieutenant position given to Michael Cassio. Iago also seems to delight in the manipulation and destruction he is causes.
One major way Iago uses his manipulation on Roderigo is by jealousy. At the start of the play, we hear a conversation between Roderigo and Iago. Roderigo is angry because he has been giving money to Iago to help him gain the love of Desdemona, but he learns of Desdemona’s marriage to Othello. Also in Act one Scene one Iago convinces Roderigo to spoil Othello’s marriage by stirring Desdemona’s family against…show more content…
He says that Cassio will be her first choice because he has seen them holding hands. Roderigo argues that Cassio was just being polite, but Iago persuaded him of Cassio’s intentions. Iago then urges him to start a fight with Cassio. Iago encourages the fight because he wants revenge on Cassio for being promoted to the lieutenant position. Iago shows his masterful manipulation skills by having Roderigo being almost invisible in the scene where Roderigo starts the fight with Cassio, who is drunk and chasing Roderigo around the stage threatening to beat him up. As he was chasing him, Cassio stabbed Montano, the Governor of Cyprus. No one seems to give it a second thought of who started the fight and what the fight is about. In Act four Scene two Roderigo returns. He is enraged that he is not with Desdemona yet and is ready to confess pursuit of her to Desdemona so that he can get his jewels back that Iago supposedly gave her. Iago tells Roderigo that Cassio is taking Othello’s place but lies about where Othello is going. He says that Othello is going back to Mauritania, but actually he is going to Venice. He further says the only way Roderigo can prevent Desdemona from going to Africa is to kill Cassio. Iago says, “O no; he goes into Mauritania and takes away/ with him the fair Desdemona, unless his abode be/ lingered here by some accident; wherein none can be/ so determinate as the