Iago's Characterization in 'Othello'

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Antipathy There is little doubt that William Shakespeare's characterization of Iago is one of the most in-depth, multi-faceted personalities that the Bard has ever scripted. In many ways, Iago is almost too stereotypically human. His motivation for hating (McCloskey 1941) and attempting to ruin the life of Othello is fueled by a belief that the latter has both passed him over for a promotion as well as had an improper, sexual relationship with his wife. Virtually any audience can identify with such motives and understand this central impetus for Iago's determination to destroy Othello's life and his chances for happiness. However, what largely renders Iago as somewhat of an enigma is the extreme lengths he is willing to go to towards achieving his aims. It greatly appears as though Iago would rather engender Othello's unhappiness even at the expense of Iago's own happiness. This sort of animus that Iago personifies rears and asserts itself as he murders his own wife, and wantonly kills and attempts to kill other characters ball so he can bring about Othello's downfall. However, a thorough analysis of the text of Othello and other resources relevant to this text indicate that what Iago actually is is Othello's antithesis: in virtually all ways possible. Othello is the protagonist in this tragedy, and personifies the virtues of love, benign behavior and a faith towards God and duty. Iago is the antagonist and personifies the sinful nature of hate, malignant treatment of
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