Essay on Honest Iago

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Honest Iago The poet Coleridge appropriately described the character of Iago as being one of "motiveless malignity." Throughout the play Iago’s motives are secondary to, and seem only to serve as justification for, his actions. Iago is driven by his nature of character. To discuss Coleridge’s assessment we must look at Iago’s character—from Iago’s point of view and that of the other characters—his motives, methods, and pawns. Through some carefully thought-out words and actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a way that benefits him; all the while he is pushing Othello, Desdemona, Roderigo, Emilia, and Cassio to their tragic end. According to Websters New International Dictionary, Second Edition,…show more content…
These fellows have some soul, and such a one do I profess myself." [Act I, Scene I, Line 49] Iago says of Cassio that "he hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly" [Act V, Scene I, Line 19] Iago is aware of his lack of "social graces." However Iago does not feel ugly toward himself. He feels vindicated; "But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music, as honest as I am." [Act II, Scene I, Line 194] Ironically, Iago says of himself "yet do I hold it very stuff o’ the conscience to do no contrived murder. I lack iniquity sometimes to do me service." [Act I, Scene II, Line 2] How does Iago see others? He sees the world and other people as animalistic and ruled by their basest desires. Perhaps Iago knows this because he knows himself so well. Iago warns Brabanzio that "even now an old black ram is tupping your white ewe…you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse, you’ll have your nephews neigh to you, you’ll have coursers for cousins, and jennets for germans" [Act 1, Scene 1, Line 88 and 110] Iago describes Othello as a man ". . . will tenderly be led by the nose as asses are." [Act I, Scene III, Line 377] Iago tells Roderigo "I never found a man that know how to love himself . . . Virtue! A fig! Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are gardens, to which our wills are gardeners . . . If the balance of our lives had not one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and baseness
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