How Does Iago Inspire Fear and a Looming Sense of Tragedy Through His Soliloquies?

Topics: Othello, William Shakespeare, Iago Pages: 4 (1532 words) Published: October 22, 2012
Iago, in his soliloquies, informs the audience of his plans to deceive Othello and bring about his fall from grace. It is his use of language, rhythm, length and delivery that cause the greatest impact, instilling fear into the audience and creating a sense of tragic inevitability as Iago’s plans will come to fruition, with no one to stop them. The dangerous thing about Iago is that he not only brings down Othello, but he also wrecks anyone else that he can along the way.

A soliloquy is when a character is alone on stage and projects their true inner thoughts or feelings to the audience. This is the case for Iago, as he shows his true state of mind in his soliloquies. It is what he says in them, which create such an overwhelming amount of fear for the reader, with his plans to corrupt and deceive various characters along the way in order to abolish Othello. Many critics also agree that Iago is a character full of pure evil. Shakespearean critic A.C.Bradley said that “evil has nowhere else been portrayed with such mastery as in the evil character of Iago.” in “Shakespearean Tragedy” (p. 169). Iago’s soliloquies are where he reveals how dishonest he is, creating anxiety in the audience, as we are unable to interrupt what Iago plans to do. Moreover, Iago tells the audience of his scheme which involves arranging for Cassio to lose his position as lieutenant, and gradually insinuate to Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful with Cassio. The horrifying thing about Iago is that he is able to talk of carrying out such horrifying events such as sabotaging Othello and Desdemona’s marriage, and the fact that he relishes the moment when he formulates his plan, truly shows his malicious nature, making the audience fear him. We see the lengths Iago will go to destroy Othello. He knows that Othello is a man “That thinks men honest that but seem to be so”, so he is willing to abuse Othello’s trust and poison him until he loses his mind.

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