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An Analysis of the Character Iago in the Tragedy of Othello

Autor:   •  November 28, 2012  •  Case Study  •  1,127 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,452 Views

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The character Iago in the play "The Tragedy of Othello" is a very compelling character. Almost since the beginning of the play, Iago has been constantly wheeling and dealing to get things his way, and he is very good at it too, when we see the outcome of this play! At first glance Iago might seem to be pure evil, and that could very well be the case, although looks can be deceiving.

Throughout the course of the play, Iago is seen manipulating other characters to his desire and he does it well. But what is really confusing is Iago's motivation. We know that he is envious of Othello because he gave Cassio the second in command job that was supposed to be his, but we also know that Iago suspects Othello of sleeping with his own wife. That could contribute to the feeling of revenge that Iago possesses throughout the play. A fully legitimate explanation is that Iago is just plain evil. Even though he finally succeeds in his plan to overthrow Cassio and make himself the second in command, he still wants more, and to contribute to the downfall of Othello. Someone who was out to get the job he thinks should have been his would stop when he accomplished his mission. Unfortunately for the people in the play Iago still wanted more, and he finally got his wish at the end to destroy Othello. That contributes to the fact that he was pure evil, or just lacking morality, because he continued to lie, cheat, and steal to get to the downfall of the other characters.

In most ways, Othello's professional decision to pass over Iago for promotion proved to be a very fatal mistake. Although most of it would have been avoided had Othello used his head a little bit, Iago still used the power of trust to his advantage, as almost everyone in the play up until the end referred to him as "Honest Iago" because of how cleverly he used his cunningness to deceive everyone.

Iago continued to have a burning hatred of Othello and promised to bring his downfall, which he did. Iago may have been better suited to the second in command job, because just look how cunning and clever he was throughout the whole play! If only he used his powers for good instead of evil, there would be no play. Iago might not have caused the deaths of most of the main characters in the play, and the wounding of himself. But we know that Shakespeare would not have allowed that to happen, because then the play would not have that suspense and it would not have been as long as it is.

One interesting fact about the play is that Iago has the most lines in the play, even more than Othello. In fact, he has over one thousand lines, one of the most talkative characters in all of Shakespeare's plays. It serves him rightly so, as he has many soliloquies expressing his evil intentions to the audience. Promoting Iago instead of Cassio would have been a good idea because frankly, Cassio didn't seem like a good leader. He got outsmarted by Iago, and


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