Character Analysis Of Iago In Othello

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The Maniacal Puppeteer Of all the characters in Shakespeare 's literature, Iago is the most innately evil antagonist created. Although Shakespeare’s other antagonists show reasoning behind their actions, Iago lacks any type of motive. In the tragedy, Othello, by William Shakespeare, Iago, the manipulative antagonist plays the role of a master puppeteer who successfully creates chaos and disorder throughout the entire play with no motives behind them. Early on, Iago is seen by the other characters as an honest and trustworthy ensign. Although as the play progresses, this multilayered character manipulates numerous good-natured minds to become as sinful as his own. Iago’s ability to exploit his victims’ flaws in such an unsuspecting manner…show more content…
Iago’s cunning strength lies in his ability to undermine every single character through their weaknesses. Specifically, Othello and Roderigo are the main victims of his lies and deceit. The trait Iago abuses in Roderigo is his naive nature. From the very start of the play, Iago cheats Roderigo of his money and later tricks him into attempting to kill Cassio: “I have no great devotion to the deed, / And yet he hath given me satisfying reasons. / ‘Tis but a man gone. Forth my sword! He dies!” (5.1. 8-10). Evidently, this gullible character is manipulated through the words of Iago as he attempts to kill Cassio for a chance at Desdemona. After his failure in doing so, Iago stabs Roderigo, as he is of no use anymore. In giving his trust to the misleading antagonist, Roderigo leaves himself completely vulnerable. This demonstrates how ruthlessly Iago uses this foolish character, as his longing for Desdemona is the cause of his death. The other victim, Othello, is the main target and falls furthest into this manipulative villain’s layers of lies. Iago is very strategic in his attacks and notices that Othello has a great deal of trust in him which can be easily torn apart. Iago uses this trait to get Othello to believe everything he says and begins by planting the seed of suspicion that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio because of his understanding of…show more content…
I saw it in his hand. (5.2. 210-215)

It is evident that Iago has toyed with Othello’s mind to such an extent where he believes no one else because Othello argues against Emilia with Iago’s manipulations. Ironically, Othello accepts all of Iago’s lies yet ignores the truthful pleas of Desdemona. 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. ‘Honest” Iago embodies evil and as shown throughout the events of the play, evil cannot be
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