The Absolute Evil of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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The Absolute Evil of Iago in Othello

What marks consummate villainy is the willingness to be absolutely evil-to have no qualms about being diabolical and no strains of human morality. Because feeling for another leads one to experience guilt, even an iota of empathy is a character flaw that will lead to the downfall of a villain. To succeed, the villain needs to emulate the character Iago in Othello, who consistently works his evil throughout the whole play and does not slip until the end, when there is simply no way he can turn the situation to his advantage. Iago is a model for the ultimate villain because he operates on a self-styled level of morality, such that he never doubts his actions, however diabolical the actions seem
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If at anytime his plans disquiet him and he begins to hesitate, his mind will be over-burdened by the weight of uncertainty and his misgivings will render him too weak or insane to persist towards success. Although Lady Macbeth was the mastermind behind Duncan's murder, the very fact that she could not kill Duncan herself because he "resembled" her "father" (2.2.12) shows that she acknowledged the murder as a wrongful deed and this invariably allowed her mind to buckle from guilt. Similarly, Macbeth feared heaven's judgement, and felt his soul "too much charged" (5.8.5) with the guilt and shame of killing Macduff's family. Iago differed from them in that his plots were coherent with his "soul's" belief that people should "do themselves homage" (1.1.51) for their "peculiar end" (1.1.57), and allowed him to manoeuvre freely without distress. With a self-styled mores, the villain should then have no cause for vacillation, for his actions and his mores are both born of the same thing: a rationalisation of the justice in his vision to achieve certain ends.

A separate level of morality not only empowers the villain with conviction in his cause, but also supplies the villain with an outline for his tactics. Iago fulfils this condition in many ways, among them is his view of love as a façade for lust, and belief in the promiscuity of all man. For instance, he believes that Desdemona needs "change for youth" (1.3.346) and will eventually love someone
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