The Hate of Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare

The Hate of Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare

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The Hate of Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare

So crafted is Iago, to which he may take from so many a part of their lives and twist them into a knot, until he is the only person left untangled. He is present from the beginning of the play to the end. The question we ask is why does he hate everyone so much? What can make a man hate someone so much as to slaughter his comrades and trick them into such madness? The answer falls first in his failure at receiving a promotion to lieutenant. Beyond this, we can find a deeper thought into Iago's mind of a possible suspicion that Emilia, his wife, was having an affair with Othello. Lastly, we all can see that Iago, though serious, enjoys the anger he exhibits. Iago is a troubled man with one mission, to destroy everyone, and he uses his immense hate from the wrongs against him to establish this.

Before anything, we must address that Iago was disappointed that he was passed over for the position of lieutenant. This argument was presented within the first few lines of Iago very bluntly. From the play, we find that Iago was obviously more capable than a drunken Vinetian, Cassio, for the position. Yet, in spite of everything, the promotion was given to him and Iago took it as a personal insult from Othello. His hate erupted quickly and a plan erupted to take proper revenge. As we see since the first lines of the play from Iago, he hates Othello.
(1.1.8-12; 15-17)
Roderigo. Thou told'st me thou didst hold him (Othello) in thy hate. 8
Iago. Despise me if I do not. Three great ones of the city,
In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,
Off-capped to him. And, by the faith of man,
I know my price, I am worth no worse a place… 12
…And, in conclusion 15
Nonsuits my mediators, for, "Certes," says he,
"I have already chose my officer." Line 17
This hate is a stated result from not getting the position Iago desired as told in lines 10-18. All of this comes together and leaves Iago steaming with hatred towards Othello's judgment.

The second stated reason for Iago's hatred would be the suspicion of an affair between Othello and Iago's wife, Emilia. During the play, Iago says, "And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets, He has done my office" (1.3.387-388). He is basically saying that there is a rumor, which Othello is doing his business with his wife.

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If this were true, Iago would have a valid reason to dislike Othello. Also, in act two, Iago makes a vague reference to Cassio sleeping with Emilia also, saying, "I fear Cassio with my night-cap too." This gives Iago even another motive to hate Cassio. Hate is spawned here by the actions performed behind Iago's back with his wife, sending him to hate those thought to be involved and making a feeling of contempt toward women.

Finally, Iago carries within him the self-motivation by his own hate which allows him to enjoy hating other people around him. It is his hate that moves Iago, and though he is enjoying his trickery of those around him, the hate is always present. He tricks Roderigo to give him money to "give to Desdimona," which Iago takes enthusiastically. Also, Iago is happy when he gets Cassio thrown from the ranks and demoted from "Iago's position," though he gets upset about it when it happens. Iago is always on guard and ready for moments to jump in and twist the situation to his benefit. He thinks the whole situation to be a game, and he is the game wizard, with his hate leading the way. In the midst of the confusion, he even states "by the mass, 'tis morning; pleasure and action make the hours seem short. This shows how Iago enjoyed the rush of his game and gets pleasure from it. Being the lead player in such a game, he harvests hate to all those around him, but he enjoys it as a devil would.

Iago harvests much hatred in the play against Othello and Cassio. He sees them as a personal challenge to his own growth. Othello passes him up for a promotion, which would have been very nice in his eyes, giving it to Cassio. Also, the possibility of an affair between Othello / Cassio and Iago's wife causes some tension between them. Most hate for them, though seen by external findings, was harvested internally. Iago likes to hate. He turns his hate into a game, a source of enjoyment that carries him through a few days of excitement during his off time from war.



Bibliography:

Othello Navigator: Iago's Motivation http://www.clicknotes.com/othello/Iagomotv.html
Sunday, February 04, 2001 21:39:07

NovelGuide: Novel Analysis: Othello: Character http://www.novelguide.com/othello/characterprofiles.html
Sunday, February 04, 2001 21:39:07
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