“Iago Is an Evil Genius” Discuss

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In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, Iago is seen by many as an honest and trustworthy person, though in reality he is a man of deceit and malevolence. This duplicitous nature of Iago’s is arguably one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing antagonists. From the outset, the audience is immediately drawn in by his sinister, yet unclear motives by revealing to them – “I am not what I am”. Iago is truly an evil character: he is extremely immoral and wicked, associating himself with the devil. He shows no remorse as he inflicts misery on those around him, but rather showing pleasure in their misfortunes. How Iago is able to manipulate those around him is largely attributed by his ability to act convincingly in different roles, adapt to different…show more content…
Iago finally shows amorality in the treatment of his wife Emilia, referring to her as “foolish wife” and a “villainous whore”. He manipulates her to do the dirty work, even wooing her so she steal the handkerchief Othello first gave to Desdemona – “My wayward husband hath a hundred times wooed me to steal it”. As the play reaches its climax, Emilia finally realises that Iago had manipulated Othello into becoming a man consumed by jealousy. Iago kills his own wife, showing amorality and no remorse. The number of people he affected and manipulated truly shows that Iago is a man of pure evil.

Despite Iago’s evil nature, the audience is intrigued by his ability to use language to persuade others and improvise in various situations. Through these actions he is a genius. The language he uses plays an integral part in why he can successfully con so many of the people around him. The most obvious examples are the way he used language and his intellect to manipulate Othello and Roderigo. Iago is able to quickly switch characters in the first scene: he is at first expressing his motives to destroy Othello, and then quickly joins Othello when they confront Brabantio. His excellent use of language continues during the poison scene. He uses negative thoughts to lure Othello in “Ha! I like not that”. He then uses repetition and lies to manipulate Othello “Honest, my lord? /My lord, you know I love you”. By using
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