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Othello - Analysis of Iago

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Othello - Analysis of Iago

Shakespeare's Iago is one of Shakespeare's most complex

villains. At first glance Iago's character seems to be pure evil.

However, such a villain would distract from the impact of the play and

would be trite. Shakespeare to add depth to his villain makes him

amoral, as opposed to the typical immoral villain. Iago's entire

scheme begins when the "ignorant, ill-suited" Cassio is given the

position he desired. Iago is consumed with envy and plots to steal the

position he feels he most justly deserves. Iago deceives, steals, and

kills to gain that position. However, it is not that Iago pushes aside

his conscience to commit these acts, but that he lacks a conscience to

begin with. Iago's amorality can be seen throughout the play and is

demonstrated by his actions.

For someone to constantly lie and deceive one's wife and

friends, one must be extremely evil or, in the case of Iago, amoral.

In every scene in which Iago speaks one can point out his deceptive

manner. Iago tricks Othello into beleiving that his own wife is

having an affair, without any concrete proof. Othello is so caught up

in Iago's lies that he refuses to believe Desdemona when she denies

the whole thing. Much credit must be given to Iago's diabolical

prowess which enables him to bend and twist the supple minds of his

friends and spouse. In today's society Iago would be called a

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