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There are many literary works that contain villains who play an essential role in the development of the work as a whole. However, I believe that the ultimate villain of this kind is Iago in Shakespeare’s play, Othello. Through manipulation and scheming, he beguiles the other characters of the novel.
In the analysis of Iago’s character, we find that the true motive for his villainous acts is simply jealousy. Throughout the course of the novel, we are confronted with some of the motives for Iago’s jealousy. He believes that Othello has been having an affair with Emilia. He also despises Cassio because of the promotion he received.
One of the means Iago uses to carry out his plan is the use the other characters. Emilia’s part in his plot is to steal Desdemona’s handkerchief, but she is not aware that she plays such an essential role. Desdemona is also an unwilling and unknowing accomplice in Iago’s plan. Her only role is to play on Othello’s tragic flaw, jealousy. The greatest use of another character is Iago’s usage of Roderigo to finance the enforcement of his plan and to do the “dirty work.'; This is probably the most unscrupulous component of his plan. It produces sympathy for the other characters because they are oblivious to Iago’s actions and the part they play in the scheme of things. At the same time, it produces a feeling of repugnance toward Iago for his scheming and calculating ways.
As we become more familiar with Iago’s character, his motives become more apparent. Once we learn of Cassio’s promotion, Iago’s jealousy and his resentfulness toward Cassio become unmistakable. At the beginning, the motive for Iago’s focus on Othello is vague, but later we learn of Iago’s belief that Othello has had an affair with Emilia. However, it is the belief of some that Iago had no true motive. The reason behind the entire plot was that he was plain evil.
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