Samuel Taylor Coleridge calls Iago “The motive-hunting of motiveless Malignity”. Coleridge’s statement appears as though Iago is an uncontrollable villain who has no real motive and only commits acts of evil because he is evil. This statement from Coleridge could not be further from the truth. Iago is the prince of darkness, a seemingly charming gentleman who enjoys watching others fall into darkness. A symbol of power and a master of temptation and control. Iago’s motivation is to destroy the peace and quiet of those around him to the point of madness by inflicting the most suffering possible, most importantly Othello’s.
Iago cleverly portrays himself as a loyal, honest man. The amount of control and power Iago has over other characters is exceptional. Iago enforces his loyalty and honesty by self-proclamation “But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music, as honest as I am.”(II.i.197-198). Othello, the character who Iago seeks to destroy, completely trusts Iago. Othello admits his trust when he says: “My life upon her faith! Honest Iago” (I.iii.289). Iago is aware of the trust that Othello has in Iago when Iago says: “The Moor is of a free and open nature / that think...
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... be true / But I, for mere suspicion in that kind / Will do as if for surety.” (I.iii.377-381). The destruction created by Iago encompasses Cassio for getting the promotion, and simply for being better than Iago. Being the brilliant malignant Iago is, he does not simply come out and try to destroy the characters that crossed him center stage. No, he acts honest and loyal for the characters around him, while guiding his victims to their destruction behind the scenes. Using the characters fears and prejudices against them, like a slow acting poison coursing through their veins. Bringing out the worst in them until the characters they finally commit an act they can never take back. Such as Othello killing his wife, and Cassio ruining his own reputation. Iago is the prince of darkness, a gentleman whose motivation is to lure characters who crossed him to darkness.
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