Shakespeare's Othello - The Motivations of Iago in Othello

analytical Essay
799 words
799 words

The Motivations of Iago in Othello

Have you ever met a devil who does evil for his own sake? Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello could seem like he has good motives, but I feel that he uses them as his excuses. The first thing that I did was uncovered Iago's motives. Iago is the most controversial character in Othello. He is able to keep his true thoughts and motives from everyone. Are his motives only excuses for his actions? Iago pretends to have so many motives that they seem more like excuses. Iago then uses these excuses to justify his actions, which are pure evil. I also feel that Iago has motives and actions that cause his actions. Does Iago have many different excuses, or does he only have one? This paper will prove that Iago has one clear motive and reason for his madness. Iago is not looking for justification that causes him to act the way he does. There is much more though to Iago. He is not a man of only excuses, he has goals with his motives, which causes him to act the way he does.

As early as the first scene of the play Iago shows us strong motives for his actions. In this first scene we see Othello, a general of Venice, has made Cassio his new lieutant. Iago feels he truly deserves his promotion as he says "I know my price, I am worth more no worse a place."(l.i.12) Iago over here is confused why Othello has made such a stupid decision. Iago is a man with a tremendous ego who knows, sometimes overestimates, his worth. Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman, understands Iago when Iago said that he is "affined to love the Moor."(l.i.41-42) What Iago really means is "I follow him to serve my term upon him."(l.i.45) Iago wants to use Othello for his personal goals. We also must put ourselves into Iago's shoes. He is a man whose self-esteem and professional carrier have just been torn apart. Iago makes his actions of revenge toward Othello almost immediately by informing Brabantio, a Venetian senator and father of Desdemona, that "an old black ram (Othello) is tupping (his) white ewe (Desdemona)."(l.i.97)

Iago's next motive becomes clear when he convinces Othello "that he (Cassio) is too familiar with his (Othello's) wife." (1,iii.4399) Iago's motive here is to break the bond between Othello and Desdemona.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the motivations of iago in william shakespeare's othello. he is able to keep his true thoughts and motives from everyone.
  • Analyzes how iago shows strong motives for his actions as early as the first scene of the play.
  • Analyzes how iago's motive is to break the bond between othello and desdemona.
  • Analyzes how iago tries to assure himself of cassio's true love for desdemona in 1.ii. he acts more as a human than an evil monster.
  • Analyzes how iago's claim of love for desdemona has a nonsexual implication. his motive is to seek revenge and get even with othello.
  • Analyzes how iago is an egotistical man whose self-esteem is hurt. his ability to conceal his true thoughts enables him to plot his revenge.
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