The Jealousy of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello

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The Jealously of Iago in Othello

Iago's crimes define pathological jealousy and a sheer desire for

revenge. His acts are pre-meditated and have reasons. In various soliloquies, he

reveals grudges that, while mostly false or overblown, present themselves as

clear to Iago. Iago masters duplicity, even remarking himself "I am not what I

am." (line 67) Many of his dark motives are probably concealed from the audience.

In his few soliloquies, he presents definitive motives for his vengeful desires.

His passions are so dark that they can only be understood by himself.

The first scene depicts Iago conversing with Roderigo. Iago's goals,

grudges, and furthermore his motives are revealed. His plan is calculated and

pre-meditated with Roderigo being a mere source of cash. Iago explains his

disbelief on not being selected for lieutenant. He boasts of his military

victories "at Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds/ Christened and heathen,

must be beleed and calmed/ By debitor and creditor." (lines 30-32) Iago was

denied a position of high valor and takes umbrage to the person responsible.

That person is Othello. Othello chooses Michael Cassio, whom Iago denounces as

"a Florentine." (line 21) Iago has been beaten by a Florentine with (as Iago

thinks) less military ability than him. This deep wound commands Iago to revenge.

Iago cannot bear Othello's being a superior figure. Iago comments on

Othello's going to war as "Another of his fathom they have none/ To lead their

business." (lines 153-154) Iago insults Othello's skin color profusely behind

his back. As the first part of his plan, Iago seeks to arouse Bra...

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... a man with tremendous skill and motive. Iago sought

revenge and obtained it.

Works Cited and Consulted

Ferguson, Francis. "Two Worldviews Echo Each Other." Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Shakespeare: The Pattern in His Carpet. N.p.: n.p., 1970.

Gardner, Helen. "Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune." Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from "The Noble Moor." British Academy Lectures, no. 9, 1955.

Mack, Maynard. Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. No line nos.
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