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Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello

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Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello

Iago has a great understanding of people and how they will react to

different situations and this skill allows him to control the action

so neatly that it as if is he himself is the playwright. He has no

regard for the thoughts of others and skilfully manipulates those

around him to trick them to play a part in a strategy he has so

meticulously planned, for example, the brawl scene. But by no means

does he carry out his plans regardless of other events; if an

opportunity to achieve any of his desires arises then he immediately

takes hold of it and uses it to his advantage.

Iago is an excellent representation of the Vice character of drama.

Shakespeare is brilliant in his transformation of the handsome, fairly

two-dimensional rogue in Cinthio's original to the evil egotist who

preys on human emotions, a character so deep he could undergo

psychological analysis. Indeed is can, and has been said, "Iago is the

spirit of negation set against the spirit of creation," Geoffrey

Wilson Knight. He shows immense wit throughout the play but uses this

gift and his graft of words for pure evil and to bring about human

suffering, something he sadistically enjoys. This idea of intelligent

and scheming subordinates would have worried the Jacobean audience who

relied strongly on the class structure.

S.T. Coleridge's interpretation of Iago's character, "(Iago shows) the

motive hunting of a motiveless malignity" cannot be seen as entirely

true as to call Iago motiveless would be false. It could be said has

too many motives that lead him to construct ways of bringing about

people's downfalls. He feels betrayed...

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...t the time to a white character.

Iago brings about the downfall of several characters, breaks

Brabantio's heart with words, poisons Othello's delight, turns

Desdemona's virtue to pitch and still feels not the slightest trace of

remorse, instead all he feels is pleasure at others pain.

Shakespeare's managed to turn Cinthio's "scorned lover" character into

an evil, twisted and unfeeling sadist. He is hugely disturbing towards

Jacobean audiences of the time for the crooked manipulation and the

faults of the human character he personifies. We can all identify

certain aspects of his character in varying degrees in out own

personalities, hopefully this can lead us to change our ways when we

see how wretched this character is, he has an insatiable appetite for

suffering and no matter how much he causes, he is still unhappy.
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