Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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Iago of William Shakespeare's Othello

Who is Iago? Iago poisons people's thoughts, creating ideas in their heads without implicating himself. His first victim is Roderigo. Roderigo remarks, "That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse as if the strings were thine." [Act I, Scene I, Line 2] Throughout the play, Iago leads Roderigo, professing that ". . . I do hate [the Moor] as I do Hell pains." [Act I, Scene I, Line 152] He tells Roderigo to "Put money in thy purse" [Act I, Scene III, Line 328] so that he can win Desdemona with gifts. Iago keeps for himself those gifts that Roderigo intends for Desdemona.

Iago is smart. He is an excellent judge of people and their characters. He knows Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and would do
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These fellows have some soul, and such a one do I profess myself." [Act I, Scene I, Line 49] 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]

Iago's character abounds with amorality, extreme self-love, and cynicism. He does not value loyalty, love, honesty, or nobility. He declares to Roderigo: "I am not what I am" (I-1-71), demonstrating that he is completely void of integrity, acting instead in a duplicitous manner. Iago changes his personality entirely depending on whom he is interacting with - with Othello, Iago is valorous and noble; with Roderigo, he is harsh and brusque. His frequent use of superficial actions is exemplified by his comment, also to Roderigo: "I must show out a sign and flag of love?" (I-1-173).

Iago possesses remarkable intelligence and skillfully weaves the lethal web of destruction among his victims. His ability to change face at will is undoubtedly an indispensable part of his skill, and Iago easily fools his victims by appearing to support someone while he is actually opposing him. Iago lusts for power, but his sense of power is attained by manipulating and annihilating others in a cruel and unusual way.

Iago undeniably has an unquenchable thirst for power and domination.
Critics such as M. R. Ridley believe that the ability to hurt is the most convincing display of one's
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