This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Iago In Shakespeare's Othello Essay

1171 words - 5 pages

Iago in Othello  

In William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello we see a morally depraved character, perhaps a very mentally sick individual, named Iago. His personality and development during the play is the subject of this essay.

In Shakespeare’s Four Giants Blanche Coles comments on the mental illness that appears to afflict the despicable Iago:

When such old time critics as H. N. Hudson, who wrote nearly a hundred years ago, saw that Iago was not acting from revenge, one is more than surprised to find modern critics, who have had the advantage of the progress that has been made in the study of abnormal psychology, accepting Iago for anything but what he is, and what ...view middle of the document...

She concludes that he is a “slanderer” and that he is full of “old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh in th’ alehouse.”

His clever machinations cause grief for every character who has continued contact with him. He deceives Roderigo about the affections of Desdemona: “Desdemona is directly in love with him [Cassio].” He deceptively lures Cassio into drunkenness where he is vulnerable to taunts and thus loses his officership. He further lures him into Desdemona’s presence so that Othello can find him there and be more suspicious: “Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?”. Iago misinforms Montano regarding Cassio (“And ‘tis great pity that the noble Moor / Should hazard such a place as his own second / With one of an ingraft infirmity.”) Iago uses Emilia to pass the kerchief, which  “so often you did bid me steal,” to him rather than to its owner. He manipulates the Moor into incorrect views about Desdemona, about Iago himself (“Iago is most honest.”), about Cassio’s relationship with Desdemona, etc. Iago even diverts suspicion of the ambush against Cassio against his prostitute-friend Bianca. In cold blood he eventually murders his gift-giver, Roderigo, so that the wealthy playboy can’t discover that Iago has been stealing the jewelry rather than giving it to Desdemona. Likewise, in cold blood he stabs his wife of some years because she stands up for the truth. His psychopathic behavior has disastrous consequences for those who listen to him.

Iago’s treachery is initially repulsed by Othello and his young wife in the council chamber at Venice before the duke as judge. From the episode there is one casualty, Brabantio, who remains a lifelong enemy of not only the Moor but also of his own daughter, denying her permission to live temporarily in his home during the campaign against the Otomites. Later in Cyprus, it seems that Iago’s treachery against Cassio might be cancelled out by the efforts of Desdemona (“I do beseech you / That by your virtuous means I may again / Exist, and be a member of his love / Whom I with all the office of my heart / Entirely honor”), but no, Iago has already influenced Othello too deeply, converting him to a strong suspicion against Cassio and Desdemona: “I’ll tear her all to pieces!” The wife’s appeals for Cassio only work to further enrage the general and drive nail after nail into her own coffin. The ancient’s psychopathic plan comes unhinged because of her change in...

Other Essays Like Iago In Shakespeare's Othello

Pathos and Jealousy in Shakespeare's 'Othello'

1140 words - 5 pages PATHOS AND JEALOUSY IN OTHELLO In Othello, Shakespeare uses pathos for Othello, Desdemona, and Iago to create a strong theme of jealousy within the play. Because of Iago’s jealousy, many people’s lives are ruined. Othello’s life is ruined and he eventually dies because even with his high status, he still falls victim to jealousy and lies. Desdemona dies in the end of the play even though she was completely innocent. Although Iago is the

Iago Essay

372 words - 2 pages In the play Othello, written by Shakespeare, the most interesting and complex character is Iago. All of the other characters in the play know him as "Honest Iago," but from a reader's standpoint that is clearly not the best nickname for him. He has a unique gift to read others character and person. Iago in Shakespeare's Othello displays certain deceitful characteristics that parallel the conniving ways of the serpent Satan in the book of

The Negative Impact Of Gender Roles In Othello

1375 words - 6 pages While there have been a great number of changes in the world since Shakespeare wrote Othello, there are a few truths about humanity and society that remain true. Othello is notorious for it’s examination of race, but is not given enough credit for its observations of gender. Iago embodies masculine gender roles in a severe and exaggerated way, allowing his desire for proving his masculinity to corrupt him morally. Iago then turns and uses his


1005 words - 5 pages brains of the play and sets up the whole scam, it is only when his wife Emilia reveals the plot does it ensure Iago's downfall. Iago is considered one of Shakespeare's most sinister villains because of the amount of trust that Othello gives him in which Iago then betrays. Throughout the play he is referred to as "honest Iago" as no one suspects him and expects him to be the most likely to be truthful. When Iago says "I am not what I am" he displays

Racism in Othello

2514 words - 11 pages in the play, Iago is plotting to get back at Othello. He is obsessed with the fact that Othello married a white lady. Iago believes the union is against nature, which is the same mindset of many people during that time. He even says to Othello, “Ay, there's the point: as--to be bold with you-- Not to affect many proposed matches Of her own clime, complexion, and degree, Whereto we see in all things nature tends-- Foh! One may smell in

The Valor Of Othello

1142 words - 5 pages long as they have these common traits.Othello, a general in the Venetian army is the hero in William Shakespeare's play Othello. He is a moor who worked his way to the top. He is praised for his abilities although he is black. This occurred despite the fact that many countries utilized slavery during this time period.He demonstrates his bravery and his ability to keep his temper in check when the fuming Brabantio confronts Othello about how he had

Iago a Manipulative Villian

864 words - 4 pages In Shakespeare's play Othello,the charecter Iago is a mutilayered,deceptive,and manipulative villian;causeing mishaps to other characters for revenge.Iago uses his stratigec acts of manipulation to undermine the charecters weakness.He exploits Rodrigo love for Desdemona,the friendship between him and Cassio,and toys with Othello's mind by playing on his self-doubt. Thus, giving Iago the advange to use their weaknesses against them. First

Honesty: Characters of Othello

943 words - 4 pages Honesty can be a way of life for many people. For some it can define all that they really are and for others it can define how they view all of their peers, friends, and family. But whichever way you cut it, honesty can affect you greatly and every solitary day. This idea was one of the most specific and open parts of the plot of William Shakespeare's Othello. In the play Shakespeare gives us brilliant insight as to what can happen as a result

Racism In Othello

887 words - 4 pages twists words and people minds in to believing that Iago is right and that Othello is the bad man.In Shakespeare's time, mixed racial marriages were almost unheard of. White men married white women and black men married black women. It was very unusual to have pieces like Othello written with such blatant faux pas against the norm. I think that William Shakespeare was not a racist and that he did not mean to have his play labeled as one. Rather, I

Breakdown Within Othello

801 words - 4 pages Shakespeare's "Othello" is a tale based on the systematic breakdown of order and civility within a highly structured society. The primary catalyst for this breakdown is the deceitful Iago, through whose handiwork structure is cast askew. Breakdown is the enemy of human nature and thus will always be replaced in the end by order due to the evolutionary pattern of increasing complexity which all forms of life seem to emulate. As the plans of Iago

The Underlying Theme of Othello Is Reputation and It Is This That Culminates in the Play’s Tragedy. to What Extent Do You Agree with This Claim?

1172 words - 5 pages English Literature The Main theme of Othello is not the theme of jealousy but the theme of reputation and this is one of the main constitutes, responsible for the tragedy of the play: to what extent do you agree with this in regards to Act Two Scene Three and Act Three Scene Three? In William Shakespeare's Othello it could be thought that the main theme is Jealousy however in Act two scene three reputation become a prominent theme

Related Papers

Iago Of Shakespeare's Othello Essay

996 words - 4 pages  Iago of Othello   Of all the characters presented in Shakespeare's literature the most sinister one is without a doubt Iago. He is a ruthless sociopath. No other character can even come close to his evil. Most of the antagonists present in Shakespeare's plays have valid reasons for the troubles the cause. Iago doesn't for the most part he just has a burning hatred for the world especially Othello. Iago is the whole reason

Shakespeare's Othello The Motivations Of Iago In Othello

868 words - 4 pages The Motivations of Iago in Othello         Have you ever met a devil who does evil for his own sake? Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello could seem like he has good motives, but I feel that he uses them as his excuses. The first thing that I did was uncovered Iago's motives. Iago is the most controversial character in Othello. He is able to keep his true thoughts and motives from everyone. Are his motives only excuses for his actions

Othello In William Shakespeare's Play Essay

1364 words - 6 pages Othello in William Shakespeare's Play Most of the characters in "Othello" perceive Othello as unclean and inhuman using words like "Moor"; from this

The Role Of Reputation In Shakespeare's Othello

967 words - 4 pages The Role of Reputation in Shakespeare's Othello Reputation plays a big role in the play Othello written by William Shakespeare. Iago uses his reputation as an honest man to deceive Othello and everyone else. Othello's reputation also plays a big role throughout the play. Cassio's changing reputation has a big part in the outcome of the play as well. Iago's reputation played a key role in the play. Everyone thought of Iago as an honest man