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An Evil Genius

             Evil is the convincing serpent which tempts all men with its forbidden fruit. Most individuals swiftly recognize the consequences of a nefarious existence and continue to lead moral and productive lives. Yet there are those who are mindlessly mesmerized by the boundless satisfactions offered by evil, and like foolish lambs they fall into its clutches. Similarly, in William Shakespeare's Othello, Othello's ensign, Iago allows himself to be misled by the deceitful promises of evil. Consequently, Iago's overzealous drive for revenge proves to be his downfall. Thus, one should conclude that Iago is clearly a vindictive, unethical, and demonic individual.
             Obviously, revenge is the primary motive behind Iago's criminal actions. Othello's neglect of Iago and his appointment of the less qualified Cassio to the position of lieutenant inspire Iago to hatch a plan which ultimately leads to tragedy. Apparently, the reader who is aware of the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters is able to see Iago's two-faced nature from the beginning of the play. Although he is both trusted and revered by Othello and his fellow soldiers, Iago is not the trustworthy human being he appears to be. Even Iago himself initially declares to Roderigo, "I am not what I am" (I.i.67). It is this original consideration of Iago as "a very valiant fellow" which allows him to cleverly manipulate people to suit his diabolical fantasy (V.i.52). Moreover, the fire of Iago's jealousy is further fueled by his great lack of self-esteem. Iago also lacks morals and sees no need for them since he considers himself above all of humanity. One may observe Iago's cynical views when he states "Virtue? A fig! 'Tis in ourselves that we are thus or/thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our/wills are gardeners" (I.iii.322-324). Clearly, by observing Iago's sardonic views, the reader may conclude that he is becoming increasingly more enveloped with attaining his goal of retribution upon his enemies, Othello and Cassio.

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