However, with a greedy ear, we still watch the play, waiting in anticipation as to whether Othello will discover the sinister plans of Iago. We are more interested in the journey of the downfall of Othello not so much the plot. Iago, such an important and fundamental character to the play is often incorrectly cast as just being pure evil. His success can mainly be attributed to his sagacious temperament and masterful wit. However, Iago's achievement also hinges on his ability to exploit the character's innate weaknesses.
A person’s characteristic can be determined at the end of one’s life. Shakespeare is able to test this theory in his play, Othello. Shakespeare’s Othello presents the audience with the subliminal warfare between good and evil. The evil within the play will cause Othello’s downfall and is exemplified through Iago, who confesses that it his “nature’s plague/ to spy into abuses and oft [his] jealous” and is cunning, deceitful and plotting (3.3.171-172). At the same time, the good within Iago will cause his own downfall.
Iago, as the height of evil and villainy, has the typical immorality and cunning about him. Due to Iago's innate sense of deception, he has two major personalities, one of appearance and the other of reality. But Shakespeare instead of making his villain transparent, Iago is given depth and spirit. The deceitful nature of Iago is conveyed to the audience by his treachery of the other characters, especially Othello. Iago appears to be extremely plausible, building a fabricated trust with those who surround him.
Some of his hate is fueled by jealousy and revenge. The ironic part is that he is known as "honest Iago". Every act contains an evil plot set up by Iago. They all play into his grand scheme. In the very beginning of Act I Iago displays his hatred for Othello.
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.
Therefore it would only be appropriate if I did a study into the evil of Iago, and how it affects everything and everybody in the play. Shakespeare conveys Iago's evil in many ways throughout Othello, and shows the methods that Iago uses in order to make Othello trust him. These methods obviously work, shown by the fact that he is repeatedly called honest; I will be commenting on these throughout my essay. He is much like the character 'Vice' from 'miracle plays' of the 16 and 17th Century that tell the audience what their plan is, and so they all become fellow conspirators in a way. This was done well in the production I saw in Manchester, as the actor playing Iago was good and convincing at talking to the crowd and making us realise that it is the enemy within we should fear most.
Manipulation is a characteristic that can ruin the lives of many, treacherously and maliciously. Several characters in Othello and Macbeth manipulate others throughout the plays to try and satisfy their own needs and desires. The irony in the two plays is that Othello, has a villain who logically should never succeed in his evil because he is surrounded by so much good. However, Iago does succeed in destroying the lives of nearly everyone in the play, and for the weakest of justifications. In Macbeth, on the other hand, the title character seems to win his evil game, but in the end the good beats him, and he pays with his life.
William Shakespeares Othello uses different and unique techniques in his language to express the nature of evil throughout the play. Verbal twists and the characters most importantly stress the act of evil. Iago, most of all is portrayed as the villain or protagonist in the play. Shakespeare uses this character to set the basis of evil. Each plot point is spiraled further into tragedy due to the nature of Iago and his manipulative language towards the other main characters.
There is a suggestion that Shakespeare’s Iago is a cold-blooded creature because of motiveless plots, but we are however offered a number of reasons for his plots and plans. Like many Shakespearean villains, he is quick to improvise and he carries out his evil procedures using materials he has at hand. Iago is known to sharing certain characteristics with Richard III, though he was more violent, Don John in the comedy Much Ado Nothing and Claudius in Hamlet. Shakespare sought to create mere than simply an embodiment of evil, designed merely as a counterbalance to moral values attributed to Desdemona. In Act 1.3.333, as the reader and audience, Shakespear has made very clear of how Iago and Roderigo differ in personal quailities.
The Character of Iago In Othello, by William Shakespeare, one of the most intriguing characters is Iago. At first glance he seems to be pure evil, but I think his actions are much more complex. Through thought-out words and actions Iago is able to manipulate others to do things that benefit him and move him closer to his goals. This character is consumed with envy and deceit that leads to theft and killing. Iago is the main driving force in this play, pushing Othello and the other characters towards their tragic endings.