In Shakespeare's Othello, Iago embodies the essence of evil he is malicious, vengeful, and manipulative. Using a combination of these traits, Iago sets out on his quest to destroy Othello. He accomplishes this by cunningly manipulating those around him in order to advance his position and by subtlety punishing those he believes have injured him. As a result of his machinations, innocent characters like Desdemona and Cassio, along with Othello, the intended recipient of these tactics, will suffer. Yet, Iago holds no regret or remorse over his deception. The fact that he doesnt possess second thoughts over his actions truly establishes his villainy. .
To understand Iago and some of the central themes to Othello, we must analyze a few passages. The first is a comment made by Iago in the beginning of the play. In Act 1, Scene 1, lines 41-65, Iago makes a confession to his "friend" Rodegrio. Here, the audience is presented with a portray of Iago's character. First, Iago confesses that he follows Othello not to serve him, but to further himself. "I follow him to serve my turn upon him," he says. We recognize that he exhibits no loyalty to his superior and he is only obeying Othello because he wants to be promoted. This lack of companionship that Iago displays toward Othello will enable him to carry out his plans without reservations. Later in the passage, Iago says that he is a type of person that will throw only intangible service to his lord, and that he still expects to be rewarded with great homage. He also says that these fellows who flatter for their own purposes "have some soul." This comment is ironic given the fact that people who act one way and are another are duplicitous, and does not deserve the credit that Iago is trying to give them. Since Iago admitted to being one of these fellows, logically, he must possess a soul; yet, in the rest of the play, Iago never stops scheming over ways to destroy Othello or give repentance for his actions.