Who Is Responsible For The Tragedy In Othello

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“I told him what I thought and told no more than what he found himself was apt and true”. Who is responsible for the tragedy that unfolds in Othello? In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, we witness a classical Shakespearean tragedy where the main protagonist Othello has a fatal flaw of jealousy. In Act 5 Scene 2, Iago justifies his actions and claims that “I told him what I thought and told no more than what he found himself was apt and true.” Like Iago himself, such vindications should not be taken by face value and are contradicted in his numerous soliloquies. Iago’s inner machinations are manifested through his vengeful plots and intentions to “ensnare” multiple characters. The liability for the tragic events in Othello is shared across…show more content…
Iago can be seen as the main symbolic representation of vice, with the sole goal to create damnation and tragedy. Iago’s behaviour is of motiveless malignancy and is ‘a being next to the devil, only not quite the devil’ (S.T. Coleridge). Iago, in many ways, is seen to be a part of Othello, and is the master manipulator driving all evil and tragedy. The origins of Othello’s jealousy, Iago’s devious plans, and the fate-determined events can all be traced back to the actions of vice. Vice exploited all the characters in Othello and brought out the evil within them. Vice becomes the master of Othello’s perception and tells him to “observe her well with Cassio”. He displays misogynistic tendencies when speaking about women, describing them as “pictures out of doors” and “devils being offended”. It is this extreme evil within Iago that compels him to plot the destruction of others and bring about his own doom. Iago possesses an insane desire for chaos and is evident through his near perfect planning of his scheme. Iago has motivation of pure hatred, he “hates the moor” and considers the diabolical mischief he creates as “a pleasure” and “a sport”. He uses his wife, Emilia, as a pawn in his twisted plot and refers to her as a “villainous whore”, before stabbing her to death with intentions of pure evilness. As a practical joker, Iago finds enjoyment and thrill through the abuse of people’s trust and in their death and downfall. He refuses to explain his motives and states how “you know what you know” to Othello, in order to leave unjustified evil lingering on. Hence, it is the essence of evil that drives Iago’s actions and demonstrates how evil exploits the weaknesses of human psychology, especially trust, and in Othello, is the direct cause of all the tragic events that

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