The Maniacal Puppeteer
Of all the characters in Shakespeare 's literature, Iago is the most innately evil antagonist created. Although Shakespeare’s other antagonists show reasoning behind their actions, Iago lacks any type of motive. In the tragedy, Othello, by William Shakespeare, Iago, the manipulative antagonist plays the role of a master puppeteer who successfully creates chaos and disorder throughout the entire play with no motives behind them. Early on, Iago is seen by the other characters as an honest and trustworthy ensign. Although as the play progresses, this multilayered character manipulates numerous good-natured minds to become as sinful as his own. Iago’s ability to exploit his victims’ flaws in such an unsuspecting manner is what allows him to orchestrate every act of the play towards accomplishing his own desires. This sinful antagonist is the sole reason for the downfall of many characters, including Othello, the tragic hero. The innate evil of the deceptive villain, Iago, is conveyed through his egotism, intellect and manipulation.
As shown throughout the play, Iago is an egotist and does not show affection towards any character aside from himself. In the beginning, Iago states that the only person he serves is himself: “In following him, I follow but myself; / Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, / But seeming so, for my peculiar end” (Shakespeare 1.1. 58-60). This egotistical character openly reveals to Roderigo that although he may seem to love and obey the Moor, it is only for his personal desires. In doing so, Iago manifests his narcissistic personality and foreshadows how Othello is a puppet for him to control. Later in the play, Emilia, his loving wife, voluntarily steals Desdemona’s handkerchi...
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...lia with Iago’s manipulations. Ironically, Othello accepts all of Iago’s lies yet ignores the truthful pleas of Desdemona. Through Iago’s manipulative nature, he is able to completely warp the perception of Othello and Roderigo, ultimately, destroying their lives.
In conclusion, Iago, the notorious mastermind that Shakespeare has constructed, is one of the most complex villains of Shakespearean literature. Through his abilities to manipulate, understand one’s mind and love for oneself, Iago’s natural evil is illustrated. By single handedly causing the deaths of many innocent characters, Iago proves to the audience that he is in complete control. Iago as the master puppeteer is surprisingly caught in the end but even then, the deaths he has caused cannot be resolved. ‘Honest” Iago embodies evil and as shown throughout the events of the play, evil cannot be resolved.
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