Iago: One Of The Most Complex Character In William Shakespeare's Othello

analytical Essay
1042 words
1042 words

Iago is one of the most complex characters in William Shakespeare’s Othello. To most of the characters, he is “Honest Iago” (Shakespeare, 5.2.73). however, the audience knows that Iago is the furthest thing from honest. Iago is a devil bent on destroying the lives of everyone around him. At the beginning of the play, the audience learns that Iago is determined to ruin Othello’s marriage to Desdemona. He has appointed a new lieutenant, Michael Cassio. This angers Iago because he feels that he has much more military experience and should be the lieutenant. Iago has also heard rumours that both Othello and Cassio have slept with his wife Emilia. He concocts a malicious plan to ruin the lives of all who have wronged him, and consequently establishing …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how iago is one of the most complex characters in shakespeare's othello. he is a devil bent on destroying the lives of everyone around him.
  • Analyzes how iago is a master manipulator and plays on the weaknesses of other characters and uses them to his advantage, regardless of the collateral damage.
  • Analyzes iago's prejudice against women and sexist ways when desdemona and cassio first arrive on cyprus.
  • Analyzes how iago is a liar that excels at telling other characters only the information that he needs them to know.
  • Analyzes how iago is a manipulating, sneering, lying man driven by jealousy to get what he wants. his manipulative nature, lack of respect for others, and lying ways make him the opposite of honest.

One of the themes of the play is prejudice. The reader gets a taste of Iago’s prejudice against women and sexist ways when Desdemona and Cassio first arrive on Cyprus. Iago says to Desdemona “You are pictures out of door/ Bells in your parlors/ Wild-cats in your kitchens/ Saints in your injuries, devils being offended/ players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds.” (2.1.109- 112). He thinks that all women have two sides to them; a pleasant public side and an irritating private side and he sees Desdemona as a lesser person simply because she is female. Iago looks down on Cassio because Cassio is “a great arithmetician … a Florentine … That never set a squadron in the field” (1.119,20,22). He is a mathematician, not an army man, which makes Iago feel that he is more qualified for the job of lieutenant. Othello is older, from Africa, and Iago often calls him “the Moor” (1.2.58) and “an old black ram” (1.1.88). Iago does not want to follow him as he tells Roderigo “I follow him to serve my turn upon him/ we cannot all be masters, nor all masters/ cannot be truly followed.” (1.1.42-44). By this, Iago is saying that he only follows Othello to take advantage of him and does not think he deserves to be followed. This prejudice drives Iago’s malicious actions through a yearning to be seen in the superior way the way he feels he deserves to be …show more content…

Lying by omission is incorporated into the theme of appearance versus reality. Othello often falls prey to Iago’s twisted words. Iago plants a seed of doubt in Othello’s mind about Desdemona when the men see her talking to Cassio. Cassio leaves in a hurry and Iago tells Othello that Cassio “would steal away so guilty-like/ Seeing you coming” (3.3.39-40). He is telling Othello that Cassio would only be leaving so quickly if he and Desdemona were involved in something clandestine. Iago is planting seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind. He is making it seem that Cassio is acting suspicious, but in reality, Cassio is leaving quickly because he is “ill at ease” (3.3.30). around Othello given his current situation after the drinking incident in Act II. Another example of Iago twisting Othello’s reality is when Othello says he will only believe that Desdemona is unfaithful to him when he sees “ocular proof” (3.3.360) with his own eyes. When Iago manages to procure the handkerchief and place it in Cassio’s possession, Othello effortlessly takes it as proof and therefore is completely convinced of Desdemona’s infidelity. To Othello, it appears that Desdemona is cheating, because Cassio has her handkerchief, but in reality, Iago had planted it in Cassio’s chambers for him to find. Iago is liar; who makes other character believe what he wants them to believe through twisting his words

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