The Complex Character of Iago of Shakespeare's Othello Essay

The Complex Character of Iago of Shakespeare's Othello Essay

Length: 1346 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Complex Character of Iago of Othello

 
   Iago can be clearly characterized as the villain in Shakespeare’s Othello.  The notion of the "honest" Iago does at times appear not to be a misnomer.  In this essay I shall attempt to explore the complexities contained within the character of Iago.

 

One of the most interesting questions that crops up is the one concerning Iago’s motives. What are his reasons to kill every major Venetian in Cyprus? Shakespeare seemingly sets the stage for Iago’s actions, giving him two distinct reasons to avenge Othello. The first is the fact that Othello promotes Cassio, an "arithmetician" to the rank of lieutenant and passes over Iago who is but a sergeant. Secondly, Iago is suspicious of his wife, Emilia and thinks she is sleeping with every other man but him—including Othello. There are other reasons that Iago talks about in his soliloquies—the primary one being jealousy or "the green-eyed monster." Iago resents the love that Othello and Desdemona share and also takes offence at the fact that Othello is older, yet he has a young and beautiful wife, power, and respect, all that Iago desires. However, all these reasons seem to be false and made-up just for the sake of being excuses for his malice or perhaps they seem to sum up a sense of paranoia.

Furthermore he uses these reasons to convince Roderigo to hate Othello. The real motive seems but a slip on Iago’s part w...


... middle of paper ...


...
Works Cited and Consulted

Bradley, A. C.. Shakespearean Tragedy. New York: Penguin, 1991.

Di Yanni, Robert. “Character Revealed Through Dialogue.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Literature. N. p.: Random House, 1986.

Mack, Maynard. Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Shakespeare. Othello. The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Ed. Rossi. New York: Longman, 1999. 312-379.

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996.

http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Evil Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago is a complex character that takes evil to a whole new level in the 1600’s and plays a key role in this tale. Iago’s main goal is to get Othello and Cassio out of the army, but in the end fails to ruin Cassio’s life, only Othello’s. He uses many characters to his advantage, realizing how trustworthy and oblivious these people are. Iago cannot be relied on and has many masks, behind which he hides. He has many disguises and secrets that he hides from everyone and his acting skills come in handy when he works to destroy the happiness that many people have in this story....   [tags: othello]

Strong Essays
619 words (1.8 pages)

Essay Iago in Shakespeare's Othello

- ... Othello traverses several themes and Iago's motivation through revenge is constantly reminded to the audience of his justified motive is clear. However, his motives lose sight from just Othello as Iago's psychopathic nature is prevalent through the havoc forced on other characters and especially his euphemisms towards Emelia potentially cheating. As the play progresses it is subtle but Iago assumes a rumor that Othello and/or Cassio have slept with Emelia ( Act 2 Scene 1). The premise to undermine Cassio reveals through Iago's soliloquy in which Iago states " "for I fear Cassio with my night-cap too (Act 2 Scene 1)"....   [tags: character analysis, shakespearean protagonists]

Strong Essays
1388 words (4 pages)

Iago: A Character Sketch Essay example

- Iago is Othello’s ensign and wishes to be promoted to lieutenant. At first it seems as though Iago is motivated solely by the desire to become lieutenant, but as the story progresses the reader learns that Iago is far more complicated than that. After only the first act of the play the reader figures out that Iago is never who he seems to be. Throughout Act I, Iago puts on many façades and false pretenses, making him a very complex character with multiple motivations. In the opening scene of Othello, Iago is pretending to be a friend to Roderigo....   [tags: Literary Characters]

Strong Essays
531 words (1.5 pages)

Shakespeare's Othello - The Character of Iago Essay

- The Character of Iago      In Othello, by William Shakespeare, one of the most intriguing characters is Iago. At first glance he seems to be pure evil, but I think his actions are much more complex. Through thought-out words and actions Iago is able to manipulate others to do things that benefit him and move him closer to his goals. This character is consumed with envy and deceit that leads to theft and killing. Iago is the main driving force in this play, pushing Othello and the other characters towards their tragic endings....   [tags: Othello essays]

Strong Essays
855 words (2.4 pages)

Shakespeare's Othello - Iago's Deception as Catalyst for Truth Essay

- Iago: Deception as Catalyst for Truth   The audience will achieve a more complete understanding of Iago in The Tragedy of Othello if Iago is viewed as a complex character and not simply as a conventional "villain."  Iago's devious schemes destroy lives both literally and figuratively, but they may also serve to reveal the character of others in intricate ways.  A critical interpretation of Iago reveals that although he is principally a deceiver, he is also a dramatic agent of truth.  Even though his acts are malicious and deceitful, the title "honest Iago" is fitting in the sense that he reveals the true nature of his victims, as well as the propensity for human beings to act in accordanc...   [tags: Othello essays]

Strong Essays
2076 words (5.9 pages)

Iago's Mind in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago's Mind in William Shakespeare's Othello In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the character of Iago takes on the role of a person warped within his own thoughts and feelings. Although people today have the benefit of psychology, back in the 1600s people with severe psychological disorders were left un-medicated and free to roam as citizens of society. Although Iago would have benefited from medication of today, in his mind he was the best, even though his own imagination got the better of him and fed his own misguided mentality....   [tags: Iago Psychology Shakespeare Othello Essays]

Strong Essays
1491 words (4.3 pages)

Iago, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Iago is one of the most complex characters in William Shakespeare’s Othello. To most of the characters, he is “Honest Iago” (Shakespeare, 5.2.73). however, the audience knows that Iago is the furthest thing from honest. Iago is a devil bent on destroying the lives of everyone around him. At the beginning of the play, the audience learns that Iago is determined to ruin Othello’s marriage to Desdemona. He has appointed a new lieutenant, Michael Cassio. This angers Iago because he feels that he has much more military experience and should be the lieutenant....   [tags: Iago, Othello, William Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1042 words (3 pages)

Iago’s Use of Language and Villainous Behavior in Shakespeare’s Othello

- Iago’s Use of Language and Villainous Behavior in Shakespeare’s Othello In Othello, Shakespeare forms the villainous character, Iago through his complex language. Iago shows his evil nature towards Roderigo through his use of demeaning animal imagery. Iago also uses an extended metaphor to try and trick the ignorant Roderigo and (unknowingly to Roderigo), insults him. Lastly, Iago uses repetition to beguile Roderigo to keep paying him. Iago’s slyness is clearly seen through his deceiving language towards the end of Act I....   [tags: Othello Essays]

Strong Essays
534 words (1.5 pages)

Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello When the play "Othello" was first written by Cinthio the character of Iago was simple, and he had a legitimate motive for the trouble he was causing. In Cinthio's version Iago had a great love for Desdemona and because he was unable to fulfil his love, he became frustrated and expressed this frustration by creating havoc. Shakespeare, however, upon writing his version of "Othello" rejected this idea and converted Iago into a more complex character, and directed his hatred not against Desdemona but against Othello....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
1624 words (4.6 pages)

Iago as the Perfect Villain of Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago as the Perfect Villain of Othello      Iago, the villain in Shakespeare’s Othello, is a round character of great depth and many dimensions. Iago works towards an aim that is constantly changing and becomes progressively more tragic. Yet, at times, "honest" Iago does actually seem honest. This essay will explore the complex character of "honest Iago. One of the most interesting questions that crops up is concerning Iago’s motives. What are his reasons to kill every major Venetian in Cyprus....   [tags: Othello essays]

Strong Essays
1432 words (4.1 pages)