Iago as a Character in Othello

Satisfactory Essays
Iago as a Character in Othello

Perhaps the most interesting and exotic character in

the tragic play "Othello," by William Shakespeare, is

"Honest" Iago. Through some carefully thought-out words and

actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a

way that benefits him and moves him closer toward his goals.

He is the main driving force in this play, pushing Othello

and everyone else towards their tragic end.

Iago is not your ordinary villain. The role he

plays is rather unique and complex, far from what one might

expect. Iago is smart. He is an expert judge of people and

their characters and uses this to his advantage. For

example, he knows Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and

figures that he would do anything to have her as his own.

Iago says about Roderigo, "Thus do I ever make my fool my

purse." [Act I, Scene III, Line 355] By playing on his

hopes, Iago is able to swindle money and jewels from

Roderigo, making himself a substantial profit, while using

Roderigo to forward his other goals. He also thinks quick

on his feet and is able to improvise whenever something

unexpected occurs. When Cassio takes hold of Desdemona's

hand before the arrival of the Moor Othello, Iago says,

"With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly

as Cassio." [Act II, Scene I, Line 163] His cunning and

craftiness make him a truly dastardly villain indeed.

Being as smart as he is, Iago is quick to recognize

the advantages of trust and uses it as a tool to forward his

purposes. Throughout the story he is commonly known as, and

commonly called, "Honest Iago." He even says of himself, "I

am an honest man...." [Act II, Scene III, Line 245] Trust

is a very powerful emotion that is easily abused. Othello,

"holds [him] well;/The better shall [Iago's] purpose work on

him." [pg. 1244, Line 362] Iago is a master of abuse in

this case turning people's trust in him into tools to

forward his own goals. His "med'cine works! Thus credulous

fools are caught...." [pg. 1284, Line 44] Iago slowly

poisons people's thoughts, creating ideas in their heads
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