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William Shakespeare's Othello

Satisfactory Essays
Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most complex villains. Initially you get the impression that the character of Iago is one of pure evil. Right from the start of Act 1, it becomes obvious that he is capable of most anything. You see right away that he is able to give the appearance of one thing, but in reality be something quite different. He has been acting like he is interested in helping Roderigo by bringing gifts and messages to Desdemona for him. Iago is in reality using Roderigo who is very gullible and in fact not too bright. Iago plays him like a fool, even taking money from him as payment for doing him favors.

Criticism # 1

A. Introduction – The theory that Othello is a play about the jealousy of one man, not Othello but Iago, is noted by several critics of the play.
B. Quotation – “ It is Iago’s own jealousy which enables him to provoke the same feelings in others, to use them to his own advantage, or at least to their disadvantage (which to him seems to be almost the same thing). “
C. Explanation – A critic on the Internet “ Dimitri Lozovoy “ believes that the reason that Iago is such a successful schemer is the ability of his own jealousy provides him to be able to recognize the potential for the same feelings in others and to exploit it to gain his own ends.

When Roderigo finds out that Desdemona has eloped with Othello, he is sure that Iago must have known about it. He says “ I take it much unkindly that thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, should’st know of this “ (45 1-3). Iago is able to look Roderigo in the eye, lie to him and make him believe that he is really his friend. With his cunningness he is not only able to talk his way out of trouble, but is actually able to turn things around so that he is in control of the situation. Iago swears that the elopement was a complete surprise to him. Roderigo at first is still a little bit skeptical and responds “ Thou told’st me thou didst hold him in thy hate “ (45 5). Iago uses this opportunity to talk about himself in such a way as to get the pressure off of himself.
He convinces Roderigo that he really does hate Othello by telling him how he was passed over for promotion to lieutenant.
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