Iago's Revenge in Shakespeare's Othello

Iago's Revenge in Shakespeare's Othello

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Iago's Revenge in Othello

 

        Iago has a large appetite for revenge.  In his perspective, he believes

that it is he who should be in charge, not Othello the moor.  This creates an

anger in Iago, who entraps Othello in a web of deceit.  He does this through a

series of suggestions and hesitations that entice and implant images in

Othello's head that lead to his demise.  But what is more important is that he

gives Othello the motive to murder innocent Desdemona.  Iago is constantly like

a puppet master, pulling the strings of the people around him.

 

      There are many instances in the play where Iago is left by himself.  He

utilises these opportunities by telling his future plans to the audience.  It

would seen that he likes talking to himself about himself, which suggests he has

much inner turmoil that he harbors close to his chest, but when the opportunity

arises, he describes his deeds with a passion.  In the first of these monologues,

he makes his intentions perfectly clear.  He implies that Othello has had an

affair with his wife by stating "I hate the moor, And it is thought abroad that

'twixt my sheets He's done my office".  The irony of this statement is that in

the next line he says that he does not know it for a fact, but because he

suspects it, he will act as if for certain!  This gives me the impression from

the beginning, that Iago is insane and exceedingly paranoid, going so far as to

set up a cache of murders, just on the suspicion of adultery.

 

      Iago was also jealous of the open and loving relationship that Othello

had.  When Othello and Desdemona are reunited after the journey to Cyprus, he

kisses her in full view of everyone.  Iago treats his wife as an object and she

knows it.  In Act three, Scene four, she tells Desdemona "They are but stomachs,

we are but food, and when they are full, they belch us".

 

      In Iagos' racist mind, he views his superior, Othello, as being of an

inferior creed.  He sees him as possessing an evil mind and soul, and having no

right to marry the very white and very naive Desdemona.

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  He does not even think

of Othello as a human being, but as an animal.  This can be seen when he shouts

to Brabantio "An old black ram is tupping your white ewe...you'll have your

nephews neigh to you; you'll have coursers for cousins, and jennets for germans".

 

 Iago also has a hatred of Cassio, who was given the promotion that Iago thought

of as his own.  To get his retribution, he envelopes Cassio in his vengeance

plot so that he can receive the title of lieutenant after his disgrace.

Iago is a very cunning man.  He plays the characters in the story like a game of

chess.  He uses his various pawns to do the dirty work so as to destroy the

general and his wife.  The worst of these is when he tells Emilia to steal the

handkerchief, because when she finds out what it was used for, she feels

responsible for Desdemona's death.  From scene to scene he is always in the

company of a different person, spreading his lies further and further.  He acts

as a noble person, and everyone thinks of Iago as their ally.  He uses every

opportunity possible to create a feeling of distrust, so that everyone is

paranoid.  Being a master of deception, this was not difficult.  He manages to

operate successfully, until Emilia his wife, unravels his sinister plan but it

is already too late, as Desdemona is dead and Iago has gained his revenge from

Othello.
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