Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

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Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

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In Shakespeare's drama 'Othello', the reader is presented a tragedy of

characters deeply affected by the clash of good and evil. The evil

contained within Othello is by no means magical or mythical yet is

represented by the character Iago.

Iago has no conscience, no ability to perform good deeds. He is a

psychopath, and is not capable of forming affectionate relationships

or feeling guilt and concern over his behaviour. He is "an unbeliever

in and denier of all things spiritual, who only acknowledges God, like

Satan, to defy him" (William Robertson Turnbull, Othello: A critical

Study, 269).

The opposite of Iago is Desdemona, who is described frequently by

other characters as "she is divine, the grace of heaven" (Act 2, Scene


The ultimate defeat of good by the wrath of evil is one of Iago's

motivations. It is not only in his nature of evil, that he succeeds

but also in the weaknesses of the other characters.

Iago uses Othello's weaknesses, especially jealousy and he knows that

Othello is a man of integrity and therefore, believes others to be so

until proven differently. Moreover has Iago no respect for integrity

and consequently, and has no respect for Othello, who he describe as

an "ass", which can "tenderly be led by th' nose." (Act 1, Scene 3,


Othello is also referred to as a "barbarian" by Iago and to a certain

extent this is true; he relies on warrior instincts rather than sound

reasoning. Iago makes him kill his wife Desdemona and ult...

... middle of paper ...

...eliminate the one character

representative of heaven, innocence, and honesty. Yet "remains the

censure of this hellish villian" (Act 5, Scene 2).

Finally, everything Iago pretended to be led to his demise: Honesty,

Innocence, and Love.

Iago is a villain, a demi-devil who loves evil and follows 'divinity

of hell'. He represents the mystery of iniquity, the more baffling

because he seems to everyone except Roderigo to be an honest man. He

makes Desdemona and Cassio, as well as Othello, believe that he is a

plain, blunt and outspoken man, incapable of deception. That's why

Iago cannot be the only one to be blamed. If Othello has a bit more

confidence in his wife, and has Desdemona not lied about the

handkerchief: "It [the handkerchief] is not lost … "(Act 3 Scene 4),

the play would maybe have a different ending.
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