Iago’s vast knowledge and understanding of humanistic behavior is the greatest contributor to his most prominent characteristic; which is definitely his ability to easily manipulate others. This is first seen in many areas of his first soliloquy. This soliloquy comes about during a conversation between him and Roderigo.
“Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.
For I mine own gained knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such a snipe
But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor,
And it is thought abroad that ’twixt my sheets
He’s done my office. I know not if ’t be true,
But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do as if for surety. He holds me well.
The better shall my purpose work on him.
Cassio’s a proper man. Let me see now,
To get his place and to plume up my will
In double knavery. How? How? Let’s see.
After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear
That he is too familiar with his wife.
He hath a person and a smooth dispose
To be suspected, framed to make women false.
The Moor is of a free and open nature
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly...
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From these eleven soliloquies the audience is pulled back and forth concerning their opinions of Iago’s character. He plays on the audiences pity, however also shows them his darker side. In the end, the audience is left with no doubt that Iago is nothing but evil and manipulative. I suppose one could say Iago was the true definition of a sociopath and cared for no one but himself. Not once did he show remorse or care for any other character in the play. The entire time he thought of schemes to get other characters to commit murder and be murdered in order to acquire his goal of gaining Othello’s title. His use of darkness and light, and deeper motives combine with his exterior ones exposed in his soliloquies, truly made him a hard character to analyze and predict, but allowed the audience to certainly place him as the detestable antagonist at the end.
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