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Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello
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In Shakespeare's drama 'Othello', the reader is presented a tragedy of
characters deeply affected by the clash of good and evil. The evil
contained within Othello is by no means magical or mythical yet is
represented by the character Iago.

Iago has no conscience, no ability to perform good deeds. He is a
psychopath, and is not capable of forming affectionate relationships
or feeling guilt and concern over his behaviour. He is "an unbeliever
in and denier of all things spiritual, who only acknowledges God, like
Satan, to defy him" (William Robertson Turnbull, Othello: A critical
Study, 269).

The opposite of Iago is Desdemona, who is described frequently by
other characters as "she is divine, the grace of heaven" (Act 2, Scene
1).

The ultimate defeat of good by the wrath of evil is one of Iago's
motivations. It is not only in his nature of evil, that he succeeds
but also in the weaknesses of the other characters.

Iago uses Othello's weaknesses, especially jealousy and he knows that
Othello is a man of integrity and therefore, believes others to be so
until proven differently. Moreover has Iago no respect for integrity
and consequently, and has no respect for Othello, who he describe as
an "ass", which can "tenderly be led by th' nose." (Act 1, Scene 3,
390-393)

Othello is also referred to as a "barbarian" by Iago and to a certain
extent this is true; he relies on warrior instincts rather than sound
reasoning. Iago makes him kill his wife Desdemona and ult...


... middle of paper ...


...eliminate the one character
representative of heaven, innocence, and honesty. Yet "remains the
censure of this hellish villian" (Act 5, Scene 2).

Finally, everything Iago pretended to be led to his demise: Honesty,
Innocence, and Love.

Iago is a villain, a demi-devil who loves evil and follows 'divinity
of hell'. He represents the mystery of iniquity, the more baffling
because he seems to everyone except Roderigo to be an honest man. He
makes Desdemona and Cassio, as well as Othello, believe that he is a
plain, blunt and outspoken man, incapable of deception. That's why
Iago cannot be the only one to be blamed. If Othello has a bit more
confidence in his wife, and has Desdemona not lied about the
handkerchief: "It [the handkerchief] is not lost … "(Act 3 Scene 4),
the play would maybe have a different ending.


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