Othello, by Shakespeare: Character Analysis of Iago Essay

Othello, by Shakespeare: Character Analysis of Iago Essay

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Humans have the ability to be good, evil, or any shade therein; consequently, if they choose the path of evil they leave innocent victims in their wake. Iago is such a person. In Othello, Iago constantly took advantage of every situation and every angle that he could to produce a vicious outcome. While the other characters remained oblivious, Iago’s conversations among them separately, as well as his asides, shed light on a major theme of the play: people are not what they appear to be. When Iago talks to Roderigo, the reader is aware that he is using this character to achieve and afford his dastardly plans. The perfect example of this is the speech Iago gives to Roderigo (1.3.327-346) where he foreshadows the plot to frame Desdemona with adultery, reinforces the prejudice against Othello, and introduces dramatic irony in that he reveals the type of person he is to the reader.
After the meeting in Venice, Roderigo is not pleased with Othello and Desdemona’s seemingly perfect marriage to each other and questions his will to live without her returning his love. While it may appear that Iago is trying to keep his good friend from committing suicide, he is merely placating him so he stays alive long enough to suit his needs. Iago plans to separate Othello from Desdemona, by making sure that Desdemona changes “[She must have change, she must.]” (1.3.339-340) her disposition towards Othello. It is ironic that Roderigo might be led to believe it is he that Desdemona will change to, but the reader infers Iago means Michael Cassio. Iago says “It was a violent commencement in her, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration…” (1.3.335) which warns that the downfall of Othello’s marriage will be as violent as it started, although not ...

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... that any of them conclude the true nature behind Iago. Up until Emila reveals the truth of Iago’s plot to Othello, everyone believed Iago to be their friend and advocate quite blindly. This single speech, early on in the play, reinforces the true evil at Iago’s heart, and how easy his silver tounge could ensnare the wanting heart. How easy it was for Iago to plant the seed of doubt in Othello, and watch it fester! This single speech shows how capable Iago is at succeeding in manipulation for personal gain, and warns the reader to be wary. Nothing comes without a price, and Othello was loathe to not realize the information he received in good faith, was inviting the Devil for supper.

Works Cited

Shakespere, William. Othello, the Moor of Venice. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 1164-1244. Print

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