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Iago: A Study Of His Evil Character

In the play of Othello, by William Shakespeare, one would suggest that Shakespeare created the character of Iago to show and explore the depths of an evil heart. Shakespeare expands on the major character flaws of Iago that brought his downfall in the story. Shakespeare by using Iagos character flaw was able to exposed the other flaws of the other characters in the play. Shakespeare used Iagos love for power, his hatred, deception, and his vengeance to show that the potentiality of an evil heart can due serious damage to the people. At the very beginning of the play Shakespeare introduces Iagos evil character.

Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago: In following him, I follow myself (Act I, sc. i, 50). This statement shows that Shakespeare has introduced Iago with an unloyal heart to set the foundation for the evil plan of Iago to destroy the Moor. It also shows that Iagos love for power is stronger than his loyalty to the Moor. One may suggest that Shakespeare has introduced a picture of a mans heart when he has been betrayed, in the case of Iago he is full of rage and feels betrayed because Othello has given Cassio the office that belongs to Iago.

It is also interesting to see through out the play of how Iagos thoughts developed from mere thoughts of displeasure to executing his evil plan in destroying Othello, one may suggest that Shakespeare associates Iagos character to the common people of those days. Perhaps some husbands were trying to get rid of their wives and through evil planning they were successful in convincing that their wives were cheating on them. Iago is not willing to stop at the level of having displeasure thoughts but he is determined to follow and making his evil desires a reality.

I follow him to serve my turn upon him (Act I, sc. i, 44). Shakespeare also gives a wonderful picture of a mens heart when he is determined to achieve greatness whether for good or evil gains. Unfortunately Iagos desires for greatness developed into hatred towards Othello, though I do hate him as I do hell pains… (Act 1, sc. i, 55). This is another major flaw in Iagos character, with the previous quotation Iagos hatred for Othello has come out to the surface. One can come to an interpretation about Iagos hatred, his hatred is perhaps due to jealousy.

Jealous of Othellos good life, he is in charge of a good number of men in the Venetian Army, he is respected by the Duke of Venice, and he is married to a beautiful white woman. His hatred is also has to do with Iagos current position. According to Iago, the Moor has made a big mistake in giving Cassio the office that belongs to him. In ones view, Shakespeare is suggesting that Iagos building block of his future plans against the Moor rest upon the very hatred of Iago, and thus communicating to the audience that behind a mans hatred lies evil thoughts or motives.

One must realize that hatred took over the heart of Iago, hatred had become the driving force behind his plans. He must act upon his desire for acquiring power. His plans are carefully planned and carried out. Deception becomes his greatest friend, he begins by deceiving people of his character. Iago misrepresents himself throughout the play as honest, faithful, and good-hearted man, Iago is most honest(Act 2, sc. iii, 5), good Iago (Act 2, sc. i, 97).

By building a reputation of honesty, Iago is able to gain trust and is able to manipulate other people. Iago takes advantage of Othellos good nature. These Moors are changeable in their will…(Act 1,sc. iii, 343), this seems to indicate that Iago knows enough of Othellos character in order to fill his head with lies about Desdemona. One may suggest that Shakespeare uses deception as the better instrument to character assassination that shows that sometimes the victim suffers more than the physical death.

Iagos deception goes further, not only is he deceiving people through lies but he is deceiving Roderigo with a duplicity of character, Thou are sure of me. Go make money… (Act 1, sc. iii, 359), If I would time expend with such a snipe but for my sport and profit… (Act 1, sc. iii, 379). From the previous scenes Shakespeare seems to suggest that an evil heart would most likely develop a duplicity of character in order to achieve ones goal.

He has given a picture of real life people, people who act one way and are another are usually because they are planning something evil or perhaps the fact that they can not escape from their own world of deception that even they are deceiving themselves just like Iago,Yet I persuade myself to speak the truth (Act 2, sc. iii, 217). One may suggest that Shakespeare is communicating to his audience through Iago that human beings can develop an evil nature that a person can be control by it and be able to control other people.

His deception is accompanied with vengeance, let us be conjunctive in our revenge against him (Act 1, sc. iii, 362). Shakespeare seems to suggest that the next line of reasoning for Iago revenge. Iago is an example of today’s psychopaths, though in Shakespeares time there was no such thing as a professional psychologist, so Shakespeare used a character like Iago to communicate the evil that is found in some people. Iagos vengeance was also accompanied with actions that were destructive at the end. One must see that Shakespeare strategically developed a sequence of events in the heart of Iago.

It first started with Iagos love for power, one may suggest that at this level Iagos thoughts were only of displeasure towards Othello. Yet soon after this Iago announces his hatred towards the Moor. Shakespeare at this point seems to suggest that Iagos major flaw is hatred. Now that Iago announces his hatred, the next step in his heart is developing a way that will put his desires into action. Deception is the main means he uses to accomplished his vengeance. Vengeance was the ultimate act of his evil plans.

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