Shakespeare's 'Othello': An Analysis of Iago's Character

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An Analysis of Iago in Othello In the play Othello, Shakespeare suggests that even the most trusted advisor can be dangerously manipulative. This idea is evident in Iago's traits and motivations, his interactions with others, his use of language and the use of others' language concerning him. Traits and motivations Traits One of Iago's most obvious traits is his eloquent way of speaking. It is through his eloquence that he fools Othello. But it is also through his eloquence that he delivers some of his best and most revealing rants. For instance, Iago loves to rant to Roderigo, his puppet-slave. Indeed, it is to Roderigo that Iago shows his true colors. While Iago pretends to act with virtue and modesty around Othello, when with Roderigo Iago shows what kind of man he really is: one willing to rant about the malice which he holds for the Moor. J. H. Crouch attempts to understand this peculiar dichotomy in Iago when he asks, "Is (Iago) the personification of evil, or is he a well (or ill)-motivated jealous rival to Cassio or Othello or anyone else?" (465). Crouch answers, of course, "Neither" (465). What Crouch shows Iago to be is a man, in whom "something went sour" (465). In other words, Iago demonstrates all the characteristics of a human being: he is rational, he is humorous, he philosophizes, he has relationships (both fraternal and sexual). Crouch cites a performance of Othello in which the actor portrays Iago as someone who "is all good fun, that he is the
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