“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of all lies” (John 8:44). This excerpt from The New Oxford Annotated Bible identifies the devil as the root of deceit; in Shakespeare 's Othello, deceit is the tool antagonist Iago uses to corrupt his companions. The portrayal of Iago in Othello reflects that of Satan in The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Iago reflects Satan in that he deceives his victims, manipulates his victims ' actions, and causes his victims to harm and condemn themselves. Iago reflects Satan in that he deceives his victims.
Satan’s spiteful actions, attitude, and appearance are exposed in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and other texts. Satan is a mesmerizing but revengeful figure who utilizes doubt to break the relationship established between man and God. Satan desires to be worshiped; he aims to rule without the intrusion of God and humans. When neglected from praise he is consumed in envy and ambition for supremacy. His greatest asset for revenge is humans.
It is this extreme evil within Iago that compels him to plot the destruction of others and bring about his own doom. Iago possesses an insane desire for chaos and is evident through his near perfect planning of his scheme. Iago has motivation of pure hatred, he “hates the moor” and considers the diabolical mischief he creates as “a pleasure” and “a sport”. He uses his wife, Emilia, as a pawn in his twisted plot and refers to her as a “villainous whore”, before stabbing her to death with intentions of pure evilness. As a practical joker, Iago finds enjoyment and thrill through the abuse of people’s trust and in their death and downfall.
The astonishing thing about Iago is that he seems to make up his malicious schemes as he goes along without any forethought. Noted writer Samuel Taylor Coleridge describes Iago's plan as "motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity" (Scott 413). Iago seizes every opportunity to further advance his plan to his advantage. Greed plays a major role as a motive for his various schemes and lies. Throughout the story, Iago portrays himself as a Satan figure.
Through Iago’s manipulative nature, he is able to completely warp the perception of Othello and Roderigo, ultimately, destroying their lives. In conclusion, Iago, the notorious mastermind that Shakespeare has constructed, is one of the most complex villains of Shakespearean literature. Through his abilities to manipulate, understand one’s mind and love for oneself, Iago’s natural evil is illustrated. By single handedly causing the deaths of many innocent characters, Iago proves to the audience that he is in complete control. Iago as the master puppeteer is surprisingly caught in the end but even then, the deaths he has caused cannot be resolved.
Her influence over her husband reveals his weaknesses and the weaknesses of men. Iago on the other hand is consumed with envy and seeks revenge over Othello. His consistent deceit and ease of manipulation allows us to see his amoral nature. Shakespeare allows the audience a connection to Iago, one finds themselves intrigued by his evil actions. Pointing to the evil we all have within us Shakespeare allows his audience to live through Iago.
Iago at one time had respect, even a love for Othello. But jealousy eventually got in the way of his devotion to Othello, and his feelings of equality to Othello and complaint of unfair treatment drove him to seek revenge. We are encouraged to regard this failing as the actions of a man who has been made jealous by being looked over for a promotion. Iago took his own human nature to the next level of greediness, and determined that he would not be left out of the glory he felt he had earned. The fall of “Paradise Lost” represents the failing of man’s free will to obey the all knowing creator.
He did this so the reader will begin to see how evil Iago is, yet how unjustified his reasoning is. Act I is where Iago pieces together his whole sinister plot to get revenge. He first tells Roderigo to sell all he has and move to Cypress to court Desdemona. The last stanza of Act I is where he manifests his grand scheme. His idea is to get Othello into thinking Cassio is in love with Desdemona.
Considering all the hatred and jealousy Iago possesses, how could anyone see good in such a ruthless, merciless sociopath. When William Shakespeare created Iago, he could not have made such an ideal villain. Iago stands for the eponymy of evil. He represents hatred and all that is bad. He lacks any credibility for his motives and takes great pleasure in his ability to destroy the lives of Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Emilia.
He successfully conviced Othello that Desdemona was unfaithful to him, so much so that Othello kills his innocent wife. Iago receives his title of lieutint, and his revenge against Othello. Iago throughout the play uses his manipulation of words to destroy those around him. In the end his plan was unveiled, however it was too late the deeds were done. Iago has the last laugh, his gift of language he keeps to himself "Demand me nothing.