The Character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

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The Character of Iago

The old cliché "One bad apple ruins the bunch" is what enters one's mind when discussing the villainous, deceitful, protagonist Iago in Shakespeare's tragedy "Othello." It is amazing how one person alone can completely destroy, or deteriorate a group of good natured, trusting, loyal peoples' lives in a matter of days- three to be exact. What is the motive behind Iago's heinous, selfish acts, one may ask? A rather obvious theme in the Shakespeare's tragedy, "Othello", is that of the many facets of jealousy, which instigate the evil-doings of protagonist, Iago. Jealousy can be best defined, in the thinking of Renaissance, as a derivative or compounded passion. It is a species of envy, which is in turn
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Iago's motive behind his evil plot against Othello all starts when Othello chooses Cassio as his Lieutenant, which leaves Iago feeling as if someone "stole his glory." Even further, Iago's jealousy is deepened by Othello's accomplishments and role he holds within his state. We are told that he [Othello] is of noble birth, that war and adventures have been his nurses, that he may be considered a [Moorish] barbarian and yet that the Venetian state has found him so valuable in action, that he cannot be expelled no matter what offense may be found in him (Jorgensen 25). This alone makes Iago surpass any sort of admiration of Othello, for it only feeds his jealousy and envy. Iago is infuriated and retaliates by making Othello question the degree of his wife's faithfulness. At last Othello is moved. Iago sees that is poisonous words are beginning to have an effect and knows better than to enlarge up the ideas that are already planted in Othello's mind-his own imagination will accomplish more...(Charney 213). The deceit has set in.

Cassio and Iago's relationship, much like all of Iago's relationships, is based on an evil web of even more lies and jealous acts. Cassio is a true gentleman, and his way of life is a contrast and an irritation to Iago (Leone 73). Iago proclaims, "He hath a daily beauty in his life that makes me ugly." Iago plots to use handsome, charming,
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