Coleridge's Assessment of Iago from William Shakespeare's Othello

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Coleridge's Assessment of Iago from William Shakespeare's Othello

This essay will explore Coleridge’s assessment of Iago. In Iago’s

soliloquies, Iago gives many reasons as to why he hates Othello but he

often abandons his ideas and searches for new ones. This is because he

is not completely sure himself why he hates Othello so much and is

just trying to find reasons so that he can plot against him. Iago

often does not know if his reasons are true but will behave as if they

are just so that he has a reason to hate Othello. Iago is always

looking to justify himself and his hatred because it annoys him that

he does not know why he despises Othello so much. We cannot rely on

speeches of Iago talking to other characters because he is not always

acting himself; most of the time he is just putting on an act. In his

soliloquies however, we can see what Iago is really like.

Iago’s first reason for hating Othello is because Cassio was given the

job as lieutenant which was the job that Iago sought after. We can see

his sense of inferiority, as he feels resentful of rewards and

promotions when he is not the one receiving them.

Despise me if I do not: three great ones of the city,

In personal suit to make me his lieutenant

(Act I, Scene I, Line 8)

Iago is jealous of Cassio who got the job and Iago thinks very highly

of himself – he thinks he could do a much better job than Cassio

because he thinks he is cleverer than anyone else. Iago does not think

Cassio is a proper soldier because he thinks he does not have enough

experience and he just learns everything from books.

One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,

A fellow almost damn’...

... middle of paper ...

... just see him as a psychopath because there

is no other way to describe him and no way to answer to why someone is

evil – they just are. Another one of his motives is that he hates

goodness and wants to destroy anything that makes people happy such as

Othello’s marriage. Iago can also not keep his sense of inferiority

and superiority in balance.

I do however agree with the part of the quote “the motive hunting”

because it is true that Iago does not know why he hates Othello so

much therefore he needs to invent many reasons for hating him. I also

agree with Iago being a “malignity” because he causes harm to others


In this play, Shakespeare explores the question “why are people evil?”

but he does not know the answer. He suggests that sometimes there is

no reason; someone such as Iago is just evil.