William Shakespeare’s Othello gives the audience a full measure or dose of evil, mostly in the person of the sinister Iago, whose evil influence penetrates the lives of the victims around him.
In The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains the type of evil peculiar to the ancient:
Over the ancient figure of the Vice – a familiar shape for abstract evil – Iago wears the garb of a modern devil. Iago’s naturalist ethic, as expounded to Roderigo at the close of Act I, is a wicked man’s version of Montaigne, an instance of the way in which men convert to evil the precepts of a common sense supported by no act of faith. (1200)
Even the imagery in the drama has its evil aspect. Kenneth Muir, in the Introduction to William Shakespeare: Othello, explains the instances of diabolic imagery in the play as they relate to the infecting of the Moor by the ancient:
The same transference from Iago to Othello may be observed in what S. L. Bethell called diabolic imagery. He estimated that of the 64 images relating to hell and damnation – many of them are allusions rather than strict images – Iago has 18 and Othello 26. But 14 of Iago’s are used in the first two Acts, and 25 of Othello's in the last three. The theme of hell originates with Iago and is transferred to Othello only when Iago has succeeded in infecting the Moor with his jealousy. (22)
In his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, A. C. Bradley gives an in-depth analysis of the brand of evil which the ancient personifies:
Iago stands supreme among Shakespeare’s evil characters because the greatest intensity and subtlety of imagination have gone to his making, and because ...
... middle of paper ...
...enneth. Introduction. William Shakespeare: Othello. New York: Penguin Books, 1968.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.
Wayne, Valerie. “Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello.” The Matter of Difference: Materialist Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare. Ed Valerie Wayne. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.
Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.
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.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Othello’s Evil Character William Shakespeare’s Othello gives the audience a full measure or dose of evil, mostly in the person of the sinister Iago, whose evil influence penetrates the lives of the victims around him. In The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains the type of evil peculiar to the ancient: Over the ancient figure of the Vice – a familiar shape for abstract evil – Iago wears the garb of a modern devil. Iago’s naturalist ethic, as expounded to Roderigo at the close of Act I, is a wicked man’s version of Montaigne, an instance of the way in which men convert to evil the precepts of a common sense supported by no act of faith.... [tags: Othello essays]
3191 words (9.1 pages)
- Evil masterminds are always successful in their diabolical schemes, but each one does it in their own special way. Some may be highly ranked and powerful, but some may be simple people in a simple community. In the play Othello, the simple ancient, Iago is very successful at his schemes. Iago is able to get the trust of everyone around him, and to appear honest. He is also driven to continue with his schemes and to never quite. From the first scene of the play to the last, Iago is able to be trusted by everyone.... [tags: William Shakespeare, Character Analysis]
613 words (1.8 pages)
- The word “evil” can be interpreted in many ways. However, most people use the term evil to describe deliberate wrong doing that causes harm to others. Within the foundation of any compelling story there is always the struggle of good vs evil. The person who possesses the evil characteristics in the story is often labeled the villain. In the play Othello by William Shakespeare, the character Iago possesses evil characteristics leading to destruction. In the Disney movie Aladdin, the villain Jafar possesses similar evil characteristics that lead to the same type of destruction.... [tags: evil characters, othello, aladdin]
1406 words (4 pages)
- The play “Othello” by William Shakespeare was written in 1604 during the Elizabeth era. Othello is one of the most extraordinary characters in all of Shakespeare’s dramas. He enjoyed unheralded success in the combat zone, which gave him the reputation as one of Venice’s most competent generals. Even though he has great success in the battlefield, he has a dramatic flaw that causes a downfall in his life. The dramatic flaw that causes his downfall is jealousy. This was brought on by a simple persuasion of Iago, the evil character in the play.... [tags: othello]
1362 words (3.9 pages)
- The Character of Othello Shakespeare's Othello is not simply a play which embodies the conflict between insider and outsider. The paradigm of otherness presented in this play is more complicated than the conclusion, "Othello is different; therefore, he is bad." Othello's character is to be revered. He is a champion among warriors; an advisor among councilmen; a Moor among Venetians. Yes, Othello is a Moor, but within the initial configuration of the play, this fact is almost irrelevant.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Othello]
2133 words (6.1 pages)
- The Absolute Evil of Iago in Othello What marks consummate villainy is the willingness to be absolutely evil-to have no qualms about being diabolical and no strains of human morality. Because feeling for another leads one to experience guilt, even an iota of empathy is a character flaw that will lead to the downfall of a villain. To succeed, the villain needs to emulate the character Iago in Othello, who consistently works his evil throughout the whole play and does not slip until the end, when there is simply no way he can turn the situation to his advantage. Iago is a model for the ultimate villain because he operates on a self-styled level of morality, such that he never doubts hi... [tags: Essays on Othello]
2035 words (5.8 pages)
- Othello is one of Shakespeare's classics, this play has many oddities and puzzles. It roots into love, deception and jealousy. Also it clearly questions the debate of; can different cultures inter-wind without colliding. in addition, Othello has vivid racism, sexism, manipulation and savagery within civilisation. This play is set in Venice, Italy but due to circumstances all of the characters move to Cyprus. Othello is written between 1601-1604, the level of intensity and drama obviously indicated that he devoted a lot of time and effort into this play.... [tags: othello]
755 words (2.2 pages)
- The Character of Iago from Othello The character of Iago is crucial for the play, and its essence has often been presented as ‘the evil taking a human form.’ What is important to any attempt to understand this play is the mechanism that makes the action moving forward. If this is ‘the force of evil’, represented in the character of Iago, this gives him the most relevant role, the power to forward the entire course of the play in certain direction. A number of fortunate circumstances helps his plot, and even in the most dangerous moments everything seems to fit his plans.... [tags: Othello William Shakespeare Iago Plays Essays]
4193 words (12 pages)
- Clash of Virtues in Othello Perhaps it is just human nature, but people have a way of going to absolute extremes. Whether exhibiting severity in the way one loves, or the way one is loyal, or the way one strives for ambitions, people, in general, have a tendency to take their emotions or actions "all the way." It's an exhibition of passion. Being an expert on the human condition, no one knows or can illustrate this better than Shakespeare. Particularly in his tragedies, Shakespeare very precisely defines aspects of the human condition.... [tags: Othello essays]
2302 words (6.6 pages)
- Othello’s Evil Side In the Bard of Avon’s tragic drama Othello there is a very disquieting dimension of the play; this is the evil dimension, which has such depth and intensity that it penetrates not only the mind but the body and soul of the audience. Even the imagery in the drama has its evil aspect. Kenneth Muir, in the Introduction to William Shakespeare: Othello, explains the instances of diabolic imagery in the play as they relate to the infecting of the Moor by the ancient: The same transference from Iago to Othello may be observed in what S.... [tags: Othello essays]
3102 words (8.9 pages)