Of all the complex and thought-provoking plays of William Shakespeare, Othello must be the most complicated and enticing one. Offering a plethora of three-dimensional characters and developing an intriguing plot, the play conveys the author’s idea of the battle between good and evil and offers specific, unconventional characters. Following the development of the characters, good and evil intertwine in the lead characters, Othello and Iago, which makes the choice between an ultimately negative character and a one that comprises both virtuous and unethical features complicated. Iago, displays not only the desire to destruct, but also the meanest vices that a human being can possibly possess, whereas Othello provides an impression of grief-stricken and obsessed lover. Given the complexity of Othello’s character and the meanness of Iago, the role of the main villain can suit each of the characters; however, because of Iago’s treachery and Othello’s nobility, the former must be the essence of vice in Shakespeare’s play.
Nonetheless, one should keep in mind that the definition of a villain is rather complex issue itself. Changing considerably it has become versatile, whereas Shakespeare offers rather simplified interpretation of a villain – according to the present-time ideas. Combined of the elements of jealousy and meanness, and attempts to obtain the reputation of an honest man, Iago is the one who deserves the title of the true villain of the play, in contrast to the straightforward and noble Othello Portraying Iago in his play, Shakespeare offers the following commentary:
And what's he then that says I play the villain?
When this advice is free I give and honest,
Probal to ...
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... main characters and the versatility of their nature, Shakespeare creates the most credible world where sins and virtues mix in a weird fashion, which makes the play border reality.
Ancona, Francesco Aristide. "'Honest' Iago and the evil nature of words." Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 26.1-2 (2005): 44+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.
Christofides, R.M. "Iago and equivocation: the seduction and damnation of Othello." Early Modern Literary Studies 15.1 (2010). Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.
Shakespeare, William. "Othello." Literature: an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Boston: Longman, 2010. 912-1012. Print.
Zender, Karl F. "The humiliation of Iago." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 34.2 (1994): 323+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.
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