How long does it take to become a psychopath? Shakespeare introduces Iago into Othello and explores the possibility of becoming a psychopath in a matter of a couple days. In Othello, Iago is the antagonist, and Shakespeare depicts him with a few different natures and utilizes him to reveal the mind of a psychopath; how the mind of a psychopath functions. The play shows Iago figuring out how to restrain and expose people to his will. He diabolically works out this wicked scheme to fulfill his dreams as lieutenant, and he does not care who gets trampled over, on his way to the top.
Iago did not truly love Emilia, while she had a only love for him. Iago used her purely to steal the handkerchief, which would later ravage Othello and Desdemona’s relationship. They also had a rather odd relationship. Emilia teases Iago with the handkerchief; waves it around and keeps it out of his reach. He plays along as if they were a happy couple until he snaps; he yells at her. Iago behaves violently and that should not just be dismissed because he gives us a clear example of domestic violence. Emilia does not notice because she has grown accustomed to all of his reckless behavior; no longer thinks anything of it.
She truly does love Iago but she cannot see into his true self and see his rotten personality. Her love for him blinds her and he takes Chang 2 advantage of her vulnerability by manipulating her for power. Rumor said that Emilia slept with Othello, and that indeed is a horrible thing, but Iago has no reaction. He has a kind of “mock shock”. Almost sarcasm that he’s surprised. If he sincerely loved her, the rumor that she cheated on him with one of his friends would have made him a lot angrier than it did. In the end, Iago murders his wife so all of his lies aren’t outed; has no remorse for what he has done.
Loving spouses do not just kill their spouses over a series of lies because that is not what true love is. Couples marry to stay together through the toughest of times and don’t murder their spouse because of the lies that they have told. Can jealousy defend the actions of destroying a relationship? Iago did everything in his power to destroy Othello and Desdemona’s relationship. “Is Othello a man who is basically jealous and to whore ready ears Iago supplies proof? ” (46, Jones). Jones asks this because jealousy overcomes Othello and Iago knows it, so what better to do than further ruin the relationship by telling Othello lies?
Another example: Iago and Emilia steal the handkerchief, and he severely damages their relationship because the handkerchief is a token of love from Othello to Desdemona. It means the world to Othello, or so he says. To him, it was just as valuable as a priceless treasure, so when the handkerchief ends up in Cassio’s hands, it all goes downhill from there. Iago also circulated a rumor that Desdemona had cheated with Cassio which was also a leading factor to Cassio losing the lieutenancy and convinces Othello that Venetian women often cheat. This leads Othello to suspect if Desdemona really did cheat on him with Cassio.
Othello only believes Iago because he isn’t familiar with Venetian women, and decides to blindly trust Iago without any background information. Iago also makes Chang 3 Othello feel insecure about himself as a whole, and makes him uncomfortable in his own skin. “Iago is also conscious of the racial differences between Othello and Desdemona” (46, Jones). The play ends with Othello smothering Desdemona to death because of Iago’s lies, and then that’s when Emilia finds Desdemona dead on the bed. Desdemona doesn’t even tell Emilia that Othello murdered her until he outright stating he did.
She loved him so much that she didn’t have the heart to tell the truth. When Emilia exposes Iago, and then dies because Iago kills her, Othello kills himself. He is now held responsible for the deaths of two lovers. All of Iago’s changes in character and personality point to him being a psychopath. His lack of empathy is so great that he doesn’t care who he hurts. “But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor, And it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets He has done my office. I know not if’t be true, But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety. ” (1. 3. 429-433).
He goes from giving Othello sound “advice” about Desdemona, to saying that he hates Othello and wants to ruin him. Then, he goes on to give suggestions to Othello on how to murder Desdemona. These changes in character are so sudden; that’s not normal. “Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated. ” (4. 1. 226-227). He has no heart and will get over whatever obstacles necessary on his path to power. Shakespeare may have portrayed him as having no ability to show empathy and love to anyone. Iago blatantly lies the entire play and none of the other characters pick up on that.
He gets into Othello’s head pushing all of his buttons without him knowing, and bringing out the worst in him. “I am not what I am”(1. 1. 67). The entire plot of Othello is centered around Iago’s lies and his diabolical Chang 4 plans to mold everyone into how he wants them to be. “Othello’s jealousy is not self-generated. It is the result of a deliberate plan by Iago” (47, Jones). All the things that Iago orchestrated led to this grand, diabolical plan to get to the top. Othello had been insecure about himself already, and Iago just worsened it by deepening the wounds and exposing Othello’s insecurities.
He is an impulsive liar and it just worsens as the play continues. He also lies about the handkerchief, and he puts an unreal amount of effort into his grand just to get revenge on one person. He ruins a relationship and destroys his own marriage; all just a fight for power. Iago watches on as Othello and Desdemona’s relationship slowly crumbles, and Othello and Cassio’s friendship worsens. He has no remorse for the murders that he’s responsible for, and murders his own wife without hesitation. What he allows to slide is one of his friends murdering their wife because of his lies, and he doesn’t ever apologize for it.
Manipulating and ruining a relationship is not a good way to rise to power. Iago manipulated many people, and twisted them into completely different people to get what he wanted. “Even now, now, very now, an old black ram, Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise; Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you: Arise, I say. ” (1. 1. 89-93. 1) Iago said this to Brabantio to provoke Brabantio. This lead Brabantio to send men after Othello because of his anger. The first person to fall victim to Iago’s mind games is Roderigo.
Roderigo loved Desdemona and wished to marry her, but Brabantio would not let him. His chance got away when Othello stepped in, and Desdemona and Othello eloped together. This utterly crushed Roderigo’s heart and spirit. Iago’s wicked plan begins here and he changes Chang 5 Roderigo first. He convinces Roderigo to give him jewels and precious items to give to Desdemona to win her over, but those treasures are never given to Desdemona. Iago keeps them for himself because he is greedy and can often be compared to a puppeteer because he has everyone under his power.
He completely takes over lives without the person noticing. Othello also falls victim to him. Iago subtly persuades him to believe that Venetian women cheat on their husbands, and Othello doesn’t think twice whether Iago lies or not. He blindly trusts Iago because he is a foreigner to Venetian women and does not know whether they often cheat or not; this makes Othello turn green with envy. “. . . is justified by his manipulation of Othello’s mind so as to make him believe his wife guilty on such flimsy evidence” (46, Jones).
Iago did such a good job of manipulating Othello’s way of thinking, that he got Othello to believe that Desdemona cheated because of a handkerchief. The way that Iago manipulated Othello’s thoughts was mesmerizing because he was able to completely twist them into something that was not expected from Othello; his manipulation was carried out so well that it made Othello lose his mind and kill Desdemona. A person must be extremely sick to control their own spouse with no remorse; which Iago does. He shatters Emilia and wills her to steal the handkerchief from Desdemona, and she doesn’t find out until the end why he wanted her to.
What he also does is lure Cassio to have a drink, and Cassio never notices that Iago purposely got him drunk. Everything terrible that happened to Cassio was directly related to what Iago did, including getting him drunk and into a fight with Montano. Iago manipulates his closest friends, even his wife, to rise in power. Chang 6 Because he was jealous, Iago tried to completely ruin Cassio’s life so that he could get the lieutenancy; he even tries to kill him. Tension begins when Cassio recieves the lieutenancy, and Iago gets rather jealous and angry that he didn’t get it.
From then on, he tries to make Cassio’s life miserable by getting Cassio drunk to fight Montano, which results in Cassio injuring Montano. “But for my sport and profit. I hate the Moor, And it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets He has done my office. I know not if’t be true, But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety. ” (1. 3. 429-433). No person tries to completely destroy their best friend’s life; Iago is doing just that. This reveals part of Iago’s plan to get Cassio drunk, and proves that he’s out to obliterate Cassio.
Because of this, Cassio is stripped of his lieutenancy, and wakes to find that out. Iago also plants Othello’s token of love, to Desdemona, in Cassio’s room, and when Othello finds that out, he gets angry at Cassio but doesn’t show it. Iago tells Othello that when him and Cassio had shared a bed, Cassio muttered Desdemona’s name over and over, and then proceeded to do unspeakable things to Iago’s leg, as if it was Desdemona. It is all, of course, not true, and just another piece of Iago’s diabolical plan to ruin everyone’s lives so he can be at the top.
Iago also has Cassio talk to Desdemona and have her talk to Othello about giving Cassio the lieutenancy back. This makes Othello suspicious because Desdemona constantly pesters him about Cassio. He doesn’t understand why Desdemona is so eager when her, when she only has good intentions in mind to benefit Cassio. At another part, Iago has Othello hide while he stages a conversation with Cassio. They have a conversation about Bianca, but Othello believes that they’re talking about Desdemona, and that’s when Othello snaps. That’s where he decides that he wants both Cassio and Desdemona dead. Chang 7
On top of making Cassio’s life a living hell as it is, he has Roderigo try to kill Cassio. They fight in an alleyway in the dead of night, and Roderigo takes a stab at Cassio. He misses horribly, and that’s when Iago runs in and stabs him in the leg, and then runs off. Roderigo is fatally stabbed and passes away, this is another death that Iago is responsible for. By definition, a psycopath is a person who suffers from a chronic mental disorder which results in violent and abnormal behavior. Psychopaths have time to develop their mental condition, so was it actually possible for Iago to become one in a timeframe of two days?
Iago was the true menace of this story, and only wanted power. All his actions were built on his jealousy and it resulted in the death of three characters. He craved the feeling of everyone being under his will, and did everything in his power to get what he wanted. No matter who or what stood in his way, he trampled over them to get to the top; even murdered his wife to prevent the truth from coming out, and manipulated one of his closest friends so he would be in power. This all enforces the fact that Iago did indeed become a psychopath, and no one should ever hurt the ones they love for power.