Iago Essay

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One of the Greatest Villains in Literary History

This essay will be analyzing the character of Iago from Shakespeare's play Othello. I will use examples from the play and literary criticisms to explore Iago's methods and motives of manipulation throughout the play.

Through the course of the play, Iago cautiously and brilliantly entraps Othello into the belief that his loving and faithful wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio. He does this through a long series of suggestions and hesitations that entice and create hallucinations in Othello's head which eventually lead to his destruction. More importantly however, he supplies motive for Othello to murder his innocent Desdemona, satisfying his overwhelming appetite for revenge.

Iago's appetite for revenge stems from the fact that Othello passed him over for the lieutenant position in the Venetian Army. Othello gives the position to Michael Cassio, instead, who despite his lack of experience in battle, is well educated and has a great knowledge of the strategy of war. This shows how Iago wishes for revenge against both Othello and Cassio, and thus, they become the most important targets of his devious plan.

Another motive for Iago's plan is made clear when he proclaims that Othello has had an affair with his wife, Emelia. He states "I hate the Moor; And it is thought abroad that twixt my sheets he's done my office  (II.3.347-48). The irony in this quote is when he

next says, "I know not if't be true, but I, for mere suspicion in that kind, will do as if for surety  (I.3.349-50).The impression this gave me after reading the entire play, was that Iago is so incredibly insane and paranoid that he will go to any lengths, even manipulating a general into killing his own wife. Iago is plotting at the same time, to use this plan of his to steal Cassio's position of lieutenant from him. He uses Desdemona's naive nature to

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