In Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, the reader is introduced to the character Iago. There are many different interpretations of his character, was he a ‘skillful villain’? Or was he a ‘mysterious creature of unlimited cynicism’? Or just a ‘wronged man’ who is more sinned against than sinning?
W.H. Auden once said, "There is more than meets the eye", suggesting that there may be a hidden or deeper meaning behind a person's initial appearance. Lies and deceits are common in society, and many individuals mask their true intentions with a veneer. In Shakespeare's play Othello, the character Iago is no different from those deceptive individuals. Behind his façade as a trustworthy ensign and friend, Iago is a multilayered, deceptive and manipulative villain, concocting chaos and causing mishaps toother characters for revenge. Iago uses his deft and astute strategic acts of manipulation to undermine each character‟s weaknesses. He exploits Roderigo‟s love for Desdemona, cajolesCassio under the guise of friendship, and toys with Othello‟s
He fears the exposure of his actual character and wants to execute his plan by keeping other individuals believing that he is an honest and a trustworthy man. Firstly, Iago undermines Emilia not to say another word in regards to the handkerchief that he utilizes as a major aspect of the arrangement to devastate Othello. He advises Emilia to “Be wise and get you home.” (Act 5.2.221). Emilia disagrees with what Iago says and soon after, Iago draws his sword. This shows Iago really thinks about his personality and notoriety, his trepidation of presentation is fierce to the point that it drives him to execute his own particular wife. Also, there is not a single line written in the play, which uncovers Iago presenting his reality to someone else. In spite of the fact that everybody makes sense of Iago's two-sided personality towards the end of the play, despite everything he doesn't have the quality to uncover his actual two- sided character or translate why he has done such offensive deeds. When Othello demands Iago for a reasoning behind his actions, he responds back saying, “Demand me nothing; what you know, you know. / From this time forth I never will speak word” (Act 5.2.300-301). Iago's instability of character is powerful to the point that is prohibits him to talk up and give a sensible reaction to Othello regarding why he has done such malevolence activities. Identity, as well as reputation, is what a man is acknowledged for, a wide range of wrong decisions will destroy this part of Iago
William Shakespeare's Othello is a play that mostly revolves around jealousy, trust and revenge. Throughout most of Shakespeare's plays, evil characters are not uncommon, but in my own opinion, Iago has to be one of if not the most - interesting. Even though Iago might be described by some as being just "pure evil" or even "intolerable", the truth still remains that people will read deeper into the play just to see what Iago will do next. Through his words and actions, which are carefully thought out, Iago is able to manipulate others for his personal benefit. Not only that, but he also manipulates people to get him closer to his goals. He is no doubt the driving force of the play, pushing Othello and everyone else towards the tragic
Iago is the antagonist of the play, and one of the most evil Shakespearean villains. Iago is extremely clever in the way he uses unsuspecting power- especially psychological power. He gets into people’s heads in many dishonest ways- by spreading false rumours, telling lies and psychologically tricking people and secretly controlling certain situations. His power to manipulate is a key point in the play, as it results in major consequences and the deaths of some main characters. Iago’s schemes are multi-levelled- he conspires with roderigo, and makes him believe that Desdemona will take him back. On another level, he leads Othello to believe his wife is having an affair with Cassio. He uses his wife Emilia (unknown to her), to bring back the handkerchief he uses to deceive Othello. Iago is an extremely resourceful and talented man, but he uses these resources and talents in detrimental ways. Iago is constantly referred to by numerous characters as ‘honest’. He himself also refers to honesty. Numerous characters believe that they know and trust Iago and that he would not lie, nor deceive them. Iago’s soliloquies also provide invaluable insight into his wicked mind and evil schemes and plans.
Iago is one of the most misunderstood villains in Shakespeare literature. We side with Othello from the start because his name is on the cover of our paperback, we read Othello when learning about heroes, so we expect Iago to be a villain, a ruthless manipulator. We don’t know why, he doesn’t state it plainly or in simple English, so we assume that he’s evil, that he’s just a disgruntled sociopath out to exact his exaggerated revenge on good and noble Othello. Iago’s misunderstood reputation is a result of not truly examining his character, and answering the “why” factor behind his actions. After all, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. His goal in the play was not just to destroy Othello for the fun of it. His objective,
In William Shakespeare’s Othello, the antagonist Iago is arguably the most heinous villain in all of literature. His ability to shape shift in and out of character is what makes him unique. His tactics are similar to that of a cold blooded chameleon. Iago’s art of persuasion, his mastery of rhetoric as well as his ability to sense his victims’ insecurities and weaknesses, is what makes him so diabolically ruthless. Throughout the play, one can truly see the power of words and their delivery, and the massive influence that they can have over people. Iago employs charlatan techniques to appeal to his victims’ emotional, logical and ethical weaknesses for his own selfish political gain. Iago’s rhetorical methods entrances many of the key characters and leads them to arrive at the assumptions he wants them to reach. Through these methods, Iago is able to transform Othello from a calm, collected, composed general to an insecure, emotional, and malleable puppet. Through his manipulation of all the key characters, Iago is nonetheless able to remain in favored perception, as he is ironically referred to as “honest Iago”. What makes Iago so intriguing, is his ability to carry out his selfish agenda without being detected. Iago utilizes reverse psychology, indirect insinuations, and explicit imagery to deceive others and force them under his spell. Iago’s intentions are always
Throughout the play, Othello, Iago often showed how evil and relentless he certainly is and how he does not care about the characters that interfere with his plan. First, Iago showed how great a villain he is, by how he manipulates almost every character to keep forwarding his plan to ruin Othello. Secondly, he is motivated to get revenge on Othello, which keeps his entire plan in motion. Lastly Iago enjoys ruining people’s lives, in other words he is a masterful planner. Throughout the play, he destroys many characters’ lives. To conclude Iago is one of Shakespeare’s most perfect and successful villains because he exhibits traits that every successful villain has and needs.
The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events, in other words, Power of the People, is irrefutably manifested in Shakespeare Othello. We notice how the characters all perceive Iago, and how Iago exploits their misconceived judgment of his personality. Repetition of the epithet ‘Honest Iago’ asserts that he stands a man with moral integrity in the eyes of the other characters naming him so. This presents dramatic irony, as those he is closest to trust him entirely. Iago openly admits to Roderigo in the first scene “I am not what I Am” which makes clear the deception within the relationships Iago has with the other characters and the paradox remains true throughout the play. Iago constantly masks his real self from others because the way the people see Iago is of great significance; if he were seen as the manipulative, scheming, duplicitous man he really
Iago's jealousy is depicted early when he is suspicious of Othello pursuing his own wife, Emilia. Iago tries to have Desdemona's father do the work for him, but it does not work. Iago's rage grows and in the end of act I, he reveals his plan. "The moor is of a free and open nature/ that thinks men honest that but seem to be so;/ and will as tenderly be led by th' nose/ as asses are./ I hav't! It is engend'red! Hell and night/ must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light./" (I. iii. 380-385) Iago is filled with hate for the Moor and his whole life is now consumed with revenge. Also at the end of the first scene in Cyprus, Iago speaks of his own motivations for his deceit. He says of Desdemona, "Now I do love her too;/ not out of absolute lust, though for peradventure/ I do stand accountant for as great a sin,/ but partly led to diet my revenge/ for that I do suspect the lusty Moor/ hath leaped into my seat." (II. i. 268-272) He desired revenge for his own suspicion that Othello has gone to bed with Emilia. It is was killing on the inside and Iago would not be happy, "Till I am evened with him, wife for wife;/ or failing so, yet that I put the Moor/ at least into a jealousy so strong/ that judgement cannot cure." (II. i. 276-279) He reveals that he wants to kill Othello from the inside, make him succumb under his own power.
Iago's manipulative nature has a profound effect on the decisions made by other characters in Shakespeare's ‘Othello’. Through his relations with those around him Shakespear characterizes him as a man full of malice, vengeance and dishonesty that is wholly inspired by jealousy. Furthermore it would appear that Iago has an exceptional ability to scheme, a talent which he uses to snake his way into the lives of others and exploit them through their weaknesses. Whether he does this for profit or for pleasure is a separate issue.
Iago is one of the most interesting characters in the tragedy "Othello" by William Shakespeare. Through some carefully thought-out words and actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a way that benefits him and gets him closer to his goals. He is the driving force in this play, pushing Othello and everyone else towards the tragic ending.
Iago, the villain in Shakespeare’s Othello, is a round character of great depth and many dimensions. Iago works towards an aim that is constantly changing and becomes progressively more tragic. Yet, at times, "honest" Iago does actually seem honest. This essay will explore the complex character of "honest Iago.
From the very beginning of Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago is held in very high regard within the community in Venice. He is often called “honest Iago” by many people, including his superior, Othello. There is a large discrepancy between Iago’s character in the beginning of the play, and the general perception at the end of the play, due to Iago’s many character flaws that cause him to create devious plans and a web of deception and lies, spun by his intense anger and hatred. The first scene of Othello holds many indications of the negative traits Iago possesses, and they escalate quickly as the play progresses. There are many points within the play that present Iago falling prey to his issues and therefore let them control him. Iago’s anger and hatred kept him from dealing with these character flaws and lead to his descent into moral degradation and the causation of the deaths of three people he once loved.
Who can compare in depth of evil to the villainous Iago in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello? His villainy is incomparably destructive on all of those around him.