Iago: Daemonized or Demonized? Essay

Iago: Daemonized or Demonized? Essay

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In Shakespeare’s Othello, the evil Iago pretends to befriend Othello in order to manipulate him to serve his own selfish needs––revenge! As we will learn, Iago has a great 
gift for manipulation, lies and deceit. Iago, whether directly or indirectly is responsible for 
many tragedies. In the writings of Hesoid, Hesoid discusses the nine Muses. One such muse 
was Melpomene, the goddess of music, song and dance. In Classical times, when the Muses 
were assigned specific artistic and literary abilities, Melpomene was named muse of tragedy. Iago and Melpomene share many tragic moments, albeit not their own moments, Othello and Desdemona’s tragic moments. Iago is daemonized by Melpomene. Iago is an artist of tragic evil. The same way that some people enjoy writing songs or dancing, Iago enjoys ruining people's lives. He does it with a sense of finesse, appreciating the elegance or cleverness of a particular step in his scheme as much as its final result: incredible suffering for Othello and Desdemona.
Ever notice how Iago stops every time he does something cleverly evil, to muse on it and tell us how awesome he is? In the first 20 pages of Othello, Iago seeks his revenge. Iago says to Roderigo, “I hate the Moor; And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets He has done my office: I know not if 't be true; But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, will do as if for surety” (Shakespeare 20). Iago is basically saying, I hate the Moor, and there’s a rumor that
he’s slept with my wife. I’m not sure if it’s true, but the suspicion is enough for me. Othello thinks highly of me. That’ll help me form a plan against him. Let’s see, how can I get Cassio's job, and at the same time use him to hurt Othello? I’ll insinuate to Othello that Cass...

... middle of paper ...

... in Cassio’s room; setting up a jealousy scene between Cassio and his mistress, right in front of Othello; talking Roderigo into helping him kill Cassio; right down to Othello killing Desdemona with his bare hands. None of Iago’s clever schemes could have been accomplished if a mere mortal did not have a muse, for no human could possibly be so cold and calculating, unless he was––demonized!

Works Cited
Hesoid. “Theogony.” Hesoid. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
Press, 1959. Print.
The Holy Bible. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons. 1903. Genesis 1-6. Google Books. Web. 21
Aug. 2011.
“The Hypostasis of the Archons.” Trans. Bently Layton. The Nag Hammadi Library in English.
Ed. James M. Robinson. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1990. 162-169. Print.
Shakespeare, William, Othello. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1996. Print.

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