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Iago - Othello

            As villain in Shakespeare's play Othello, Iago has two main actions. He believes that Othello made love to his wife, and Iago is mad that Cassio was chosen to be Lieutenant instead of himself. From this hate comes the main conflict of the play. Iago plans to ruin Othello by carrying out a plan based on lies and deceit. This plan will make Iago the only person that Othello believes he can trust, and Iago will use this trust to manipulate Othello. First, Iago plans to remove Cassio from his position as lieutenant so that he himself take over Cassio's position as confidant and Lieutenant to Othello. Then Iago hopes to convince Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. If Iago's plan unfolds properly, he will be granted the revenge that he believes he deserves. Iago's plan and his motives are disclosed through a series three of conversations. He speaks with Roderigo twice and Cassio once. These three conversations show how Iago manipulates others to gain his own ends, and they also give motives for Iago's behaviour. The conversations all follow the same pattern. Iago first speaks with Roderigo and Cassio to forward his plan, and then Iago has a soliloquy in which he discusses his motives. Iago states that the reasons for his hate are that Othello slept with Emilia and Cassio was chosen to be Othello's Lieutenant. However, Iago's actions lead to ends that do not revenge his given motives. Coleridge calls Iago's actions "the motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity" . In other words, Iago's only reason for destroying Othello is that Iago is an inherently bad person. The conversations that Iago has with Roderigo and Cassio show that Iago invents reasons for his actions against Othello, so that his own selfish ends can be met. Iago's first dialog with Roderigo serves as an introduction to Iago's plan. In this scene the reader learns that Roderigo is in love with Desdemona, because he threatens to drown himself when he learns that Othello and Desdemona are engaged.

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