Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

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Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

The most fascinating and curious character in the tragic play

"Othello", by William Shakespeare, is "Honest" Iago. In the play his

nature is conveyed to the audience in many ways. Iago's character is

determined by his relationship with the other characters in the play.

His betrayal of those who love him that occurs throughout the text is

a prime example of this, and is emphasised further by dramatic irony.

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. He is the image of the soldier, frank, down-to-earth if

a little vulgar in speech, "honest" and loyal. It is how Iago wants to

be seen and, until the end of the play, how the characters see him.

The audience knows that he is a cynical man who really does not mean

what he says. In Act I, Iago stirs up Brabantio - without being seen -

against Othello, saying, "I am one sir, that comes to tell you your

daughter / and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs."

Latter on in Act I, Iago goes on to present himself as the brave

defender of Othello's reputation against Brabantio's attack on it.

Iago says, "It is Brabantio. General, be advised; He comes to ba...

... middle of paper ...

...g about the downfall of

Othello: "After some time, to abuse Othello's ear / That he [Cassio]

is too familiar with his wife"

In conclusion, the nature of Iago can be described as ambiguous. It

delves into the appearance and reality theme that extenuates through

the play. By appearance, he has all the values that one would expect

of a soldier. Resilient loyalty and honesty, morals valued on the

battlefield. But in reality, he is the super-perceptive manipulating

villain, central to the play. Iago reveals his true nature in bitter

soliloquies where he unfolds his plan to destroy everyone possible.

The dramatic irony - brought about by the soliloquies - is a key

device used by Shakespeare to convey the deceptive nature of Iago's

character. His relationships with the other characters also help to

convey his character.
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