The Use Of Satan In Shakespeare's Othello

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“When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of all lies” (John 8:44). This excerpt from The New Oxford Annotated Bible identifies the devil as the root of deceit; in Shakespeare 's Othello, deceit is the tool antagonist Iago uses to corrupt his companions. The portrayal of Iago in Othello reflects that of Satan in The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Iago reflects Satan in that he deceives his victims, manipulates his victims ' actions, and causes his victims to harm and condemn themselves. Iago reflects Satan in that he deceives his victims. Iago, in his pursuit of a, takes advantage of the trust of his companions to deceive them: And what 's he, then, that says I play the villain, When this advice…show more content…
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Divinity of hell! When devils will the blackest sins put on, They do suggest at first with heavenly shows, As I do now. . . . (2.3.356-359, 370-373)
Iago revels in his treachery, after counseling Cassio to restore his reputation with Othello in such a way that he may further incriminate Cassio. Iago deceives his victims by giving them false guidance, much like Saul accuses one possessed by Satan of doing to those interested in the word of God: But the magician Elymas . . . opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul . . . filled him with the Holy Spirit, and looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?” (Acts 13:8-10)
Satan uses deception to compel his victims to commit sin, and leads them astray of the “paths of the Lord”. Iago, in a parallel manner, uses treachery to turn his companions against each other, and guides them to their tragic demises; and in this way, Iago reflects Satan 's deceptive
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Iago does not only cause his victims to harm others; he also uses his manipulative powers to cause them to injure themselves. In his plot, the actions he impels his victims to take are what facilitates their own demises. Cassio, for example, was forced to destroy his reputation by drunkenness, and then guided to put himself in a position to be accused of engaging in an affair with Othello 's wife, for which Othello would order for him to be killed. After his drunken misbehavior, Cassio identifies the self-destructive nature of intoxication: O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause transform ourselves into beasts! (2.3.309-312)
Iago himself functions in a similar manner, turning feelings of friendship and love into mistrust and murder. Thus he caused Othello, who had been celebrating his marriage to his beloved, to turn hateful towards his closest friend and murderous towards the woman he so loved, culminating in his own suicide. Upon uncovering Iago 's plot, Othello faces what he has done: . . . Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely, but too
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