Iago's Influence Essay

Iago's Influence Essay

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Is it fate that we as a people will be brought to destruction by our own means? In the story of Othello, Iago seeks to prove this point to all those who surround him. Through manipulation and lies, the villainous Iago shows how people can come to quickly distrust others, and escalate situations until death. Iago’s hope is to not only cause destruction, but to watch other wreak it upon themselves. By playing the role of both trustworthy friend and sly controller, Iago illustrates how one man’s knowledge of human nature can direct the actions of those around him.
Iago’s influence on others begins right way by having a pre-established trust between Othello and himself. It is evident beginning as early as Act II that the Moor’s trust of Iago is absolute. “What is the matter masters? / Honest Iago, that looks dead with grieving, / Speak. Who began this? On thy love, I charge thee” (II.iii.165-167). The reliance with which Othello is ready to believe Iago right away shows the power Iago truly holds upon his master. Iago’s observance and quiet intake of Othello in both battle and as a leader gave Iago the upper hand in realizing the Moor’s weaknesses. A.C. Bradley, who has studied the great tragedies of Shakespeare, believes that “...Othello's mind, for all its poetry, is very simple. He is not observant. His nature tends outward. He is quite free from introspection, and is not given to reflection. Emotion excites his imagination, but it confuses and dulls his intellect” (A.C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy). Iago is well aware of Othello’s ‘quick to trust’ mentality, and uses this along with the hero’s passionate means of carrying out his business to break him down. Once the thought was repeated enough to Othello that his s...

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... themselves, but that he cannot destroy what is inherently good in them.
In Act V Iago is found out, with all those around him either injured or dead. He has achieved his ultimate goal; to bring down those around him through their own faults and tendencies. He states, “Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. / From this time forth I never will speak word" (V. ii. 303-304). Iago has been found out through Emilia yes, but has proven his point. To send his message even farther Iago vows to never speak again; this message of silence solidifies the idea he has been trying to push throughout the entire play. All those who live can see the evidence of the darkest side of human nature in the bodies of those who are dead. A person may believe they are inherently good, but when truly tested about their beliefs, they fall to the darkest depths under pressure.

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