Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello


William Shakespeare, born: 1564 died: 1616, is considered one of the greatest writers who has ever lived. He had a unique way of putting things into words. All of his plays, sonnets, and poems have gotten great recognition. But when Shakespeare wrote Othello he created one of the most controversial villains of all times; Iago. He is best described as disturbing, ruthless, and amoral. No other character can even come close to his evil (Iago: The 1).

Iago, in the play Othello, is a very intriguing villain. Even though he is often referred to as "Honest" Iago, he lies, cheats, steals, bullies, and even kills just to get what he wants (Iago as 1). Iago starts off being evil when he finds out that Othello gave Cassio the position of lieutenant that he felt he deserved. To take this position from Cassio he must not let his conscience get in his way. This is not a problem with Iago because he has no conscience. Iago is able to manipulate anyone who gets in the way of his goals. He does this over and over during the course of the play. He uses all the characters to destroy Othello. He used the tension that was already existent to bring him down. And he also uses his intense sense of intuition.

Iago is an excellent judge of character. He also makes it seem like he posseses characteristics that he really doesn’t have. Iago often wonders why someone would pretend to be something they are not, when in fact that is exactly what he represents. He has many fronts that he can put up. Every character in Othello had a relationship with the different sides of his personality. He uses this to his advantage in the case of Roderigo loving Desdemona. By knowing that Roderigo is madly in love with her, he knows he will do anything to be with Desdemona. Iago says about Roderigo, " Thus do I ever make a fool of my purse;" (1.3.353). By going on what he knows about Roderigo, he is able to get money and jewels from him. He doesn’t even think twice before taking things from someone who supposedly considers Iago to be his friend.

Iago is also capable of thinking very quickly in any situation. This makes him able to handle himself when something he does not expect happens. He can recognize the advantages of trust and uses it to gain what he wants. He has it in his mind that if he has everyone's trust no one will ever expect him to be at...


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...ll the people that are in a higher position and are more powerful than he is. Iago refuses to cooperate with those people that do posses more power than he does. This is just one of the many examples of Iago’s distorted ways of thinking.

     Considering all the hatred and jealousy Iago possesses, how could anyone see good in such a ruthless, merciless sociopath. When William Shakespeare created Iago, he could not have made such an ideal villain. Iago stands for the eponymy of evil. He represents hatred and all that is bad. He lacks any credibility for his motives and takes great pleasure in his ability to destroy the lives of Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, and Emilia. He created all the madness in the play but was never caught until the end finally arrived. Iago said it himself, “ I am not what I am” (1.1.62). He proves this clearly that he seems like he is always watching out for people when really he is out to devastate the lives of so many. Even though Iago was successful in eliminating Othello and the others, he was not victorious in the end because the problems he caused, deaths especially, cannot be resolved. Ironically everything that Iago pretended to be led to his end.

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