Curiosity Killed the Othello

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Curiosity will eventually be beaten, tortured, and ultimately killed by formal education. Iago is the protagonist in the Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice and he represents a dog chasing cars, a very clever dog, one that can sit, assess, and then act on the knowledge that he has gained, to work in his favor. He despises and envies his victims, but that makes him a criminal character instead of an outright villainous one. Iago is a simple man, with the simple motives of curiosity, envy, and prejudice which in themselves are the driving force behind the play, for everything does in fact revolve around Iago.

“If a member of the audience were to interrupt the play and ask Iago: ‘What are you doing?’ could not Iago answer with a boyish giggle, ‘Nothing. I’m only trying to find out what Othello is really like’?” (Auden 50). Would that not be a fair answer? Society has accepted that anyone and everyone has the undeniable right to as much knowledge as they can attain. So is Iago’s pursuit to understand who Othello really is wrong? He uses only what he knows about Othello to make him the subject of a study in human nature, which becomes a matter of life and death, leading to the main source of tension throughout the play. By manipulating Othello’s weak and corruptible mind Iago puts his own life at risk, for if all his lies, deceit, and manipulation were to come to light earlier in the play, multiple deaths could have been avoided. He is driven to break down the Othello based on his curiosity and his obvious distaste for the Moor. Now, though Iago does “hate the Moor” (1.3. 377), his curiosity leads him into a distant envy. This envy just adds more fuel to the flames of hatred, for Iago’s envy stems from the fact that he seems to have no desires of his own, other than to play games with others minds. So when Iago uncovers the desires of those around him he taunts them with the thing they want most and it is from this that he forms the basis of his plan: to take...
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