The Balance of Iago and Desdemona’s Characters in Othello
In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello the balance of good versus evil is seen in Desdemona and Iago. “Every character is […] balanced by another similar or contrasting character”(Kernan 877). We see this balance in Desdemona’s “innocence” and Iago’s corrupting hatred (877). The effects both Iago and Desdemona have on the main character Othello throughout the play only help to show this balance. Othello becomes the tragic work of art due to the balancing of Iago’s hatred and Desdemona’s loyalty throughout the play.
At the beginning of the play, Iago’s hatred is evident through his desire to have revenge on Othello. As he speaks to Roderigo, he discusses this hatred for Othello. “These fellows have some soul, / And such a one do I profess myself. / It is as sure as you are Roderigo, / Were I the Moor I would not be Iago. / In following him, I follow but myself- / Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, / But seeming so for my peculiar end.” (Shakespeare 1.1.56-62). From this Iago begins his plot to overtake Othello by manipulating others to do his bidding which only adds to the extremity of his character. With his plot in motion, Iago, according to Amy Clark, uses a special technique to trick Othello by “cleverly [appearing] to be reluctant to speak ill against others.” This technique “makes Othello not suspect Iago of any dishonest behavior” (Clark). This is where Othello believes his so called friend over his wife. This method that Clark speaks of shows Iago’s deceit towards Othello. Iago says to Othello, “Cassio:/ In sleep I heard him say "Sweet Desdemona,/ Let us be wary, let us hide our loves";/ And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand,/ Cry "O sweet creature!" and then kiss me hard,/ then laid his leg/ Over my thigh, and sigh'd, and kiss'd; and/ Cried "Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor!" (Shakespeare 3.3.418-426) Iago is also willing to do almost anything to get his...
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