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The evil character of iago in the play othello by william shakespeare

  • The two things envy and conscious power, are then his motives, I think;
  • This plan occupies the final three acts of the play;
  • He is the dramatist, chief actor as well as the choreographer of this devilish drama.

Shakespeare has drawn the portrait of a consummate villain the character of Iago. The concept of the villain attained perfection in the character of Iago. He is a perfect Machiavellian, but he is much more than that. Like Hamlet, he is an enigma, a mystery that cannot be solved easily. His mind is as fathomless as his purpose seems dark and without motive.

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In Iago, as in Hamlet, Shakespeare created a character which always defies all attempts to analyze it. After Othello has killed Desdemona and himself the Venetian authority seizes Iago and demands an explanation of his villainous acts. The fascinating things in the character of Iago are his outward commonness and his undetected inward villainy.

  • Desdemona dies in an entirely different manner in Cinthio's tale; the Moor commissions his ensign to bludgeon her to death with a sand-filled stocking;
  • Starting out with the assertion that he is one who has "some soul," he closes with defiance and sullen silence;
  • A good example of his making up a drama and directing it successfully for his victims occurs in Act IV, Scene 1, when Iago persuades Othello to eavesdrop on his conversation with Cassio.

Everyone refers to him as honest Iago. This means that Iago is a consummate artist who has successfully deluded all the observers of his real nature. C Bradley does not agree with Coleridge because Iago is not just a symbolic incarnation of evil.

Iago is a flesh and blood human being, although his action moves on a plane that makes him an elusive character, a kind of psychological impossibility. Beside him, even Othello seems to be a lackluster character. Othello plays as a puppet in the hands of Iago.

  • Having no real motives in the beginning for his conduct, lago cannot change as these motives change, but steadily and closely works out little by little his diabolical plans;
  • He demotes him, and refuses to have him in his company;
  • For one thing, the ensign makes his general believe that he is loyal, conscientious and noble minded these are of course ironically, Othello's best qualities;
  • He demotes him, and refuses to have him in his company;
  • Since he feels that lying, cheating, and deceiving will no longer avail, he gives up everything and is silent, but neither remorseful nor repentant;
  • The two murderers escape detection.

Othello is a simple character but Iago is infinitely complex. In a sense, Iago is a dramatist within the drama. He is the dramatist, chief actor as well as the choreographer of this devilish drama.

But along with his mental dexterity, Iago also has a weak point or hamartia.

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He has the human stupidity to forget the fact that the evil plan will destroy not only Othello but also himself. This is the stupidity which brings his nemesis upon him. The tragedian gets caught in the tragedy of his own making. Iago feels infallible and considers honest man to be foolish.

Introduction to Othello by Shakespeare

This overconfidence in his own power undermines his cause. He thought that he had foreseen everything, but it never occurred to him that his wife might betray him. Iago did not understand the power of love and affection, out of love for the dead Desdemona, Emilia exposes the villainy of her husband to others.

Villainous Role of Iago in Othello

In this manner, Iago proves to be a tragic character himself, who gets caught in the web of fate and is destroyed. But we find Iago in his full power in the so-called temptation scene.

It is quite interesting to follow the tortuous path through which Iago leads Othello from calm self-confidence about love into a tempestuous mood of jealousy. Iago makes use of them to sharpen his final weapon.

  1. Roderigo is the instrument with which he works his diabolic plan. He is condemned to exile ; Desdemona's relatives eventually execute him.
  2. From this time forth I never will speak word. He says that the Moor and Cassio have wronged him.
  3. Roderigo is the instrument with which he works his diabolic plan.
  4. Othello plays as a puppet in the hands of Iago.

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world, Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou owedest yesterday. But all these are false rationalizations having no evidence. A whole loss of psychological explanation can be supplied in the manner in which Iago acts.

Still, he will remain unfathomable as a character.