The Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

The Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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The Character of Iago in Othello

 
      No one has ever failed to appreciate the skilled art with which Shakespeare has defined the characters of his plays; great and small alike, their distinctiveness, their dignity, their misery, and their integrity are captured and displayed.  In particular the depiction of certain characters in Othello have been universally acclaimed.  Identified by many scholars as one of Shakespeare "great" tragedies, along with Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear, Othello follows a traditional tragic pattern, tracing the central character's fall from greatness and bringing together qualities of nobility with choices that lead to inevitable suffering. Othello is also one of Shakespeare's most emotionally compelling plays. The drive, with which the devastating series of events disentangle, creates a breathless sense of muddled chaos that mesmerizes viewers almost as much as it propels the characters.  In the course of Othello, we are exposed to a dramatic conception of Iago.  The evil contained within Othello is by no means paranormal or mythical, yet is represented by the character Iago and his voracious desire for revenge and constant deception.  Iago is disloyal, shrewd, and egotistical.  He uses these traits to his advantage by slowly planning his own conquest while watching the demise of others.  Although Iago is a perfect example of evil, a "hellish villain" creating an internalized beastlike rage, he is in fact a human wrapped with passion suffering from a distorted image of himself and others.

 

Evil has nowhere else been portrayed with such mastery as in the character of Iago.    Iago is young, deceitful and a scoundrel from the start. He is keen and able to manipulat...


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...ealed Through Dialogue." Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Literature. N. p.: Random House, 1986.

 

Gardner, Helen. "Othello: A Tragedy of Beauty and Fortune." Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from "The Noble Moor." British Academy Lectures, no. 9, 1955.

 

Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.

 

Wright, Louis B. and Virginia A. LaMar. "The Engaging Qualities of Othello." Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Introduction to The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare. N. p.: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1957.

 

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