Iago

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Iago is one of the main characters in the play Othello. His personality consists of being the personification of the moral behavior. Shakespeare goes a lot deeper than that, he gives Iago this colour that makes him more than just a stock character. Iago gains complexity throughout the play through having multiple motives, his ability to manipulate others and being generally just unsympathetic. Shakespeare shows us exactly what kind of person Iago is right from the beginning of the play. The reader/spectator begins to realize this before any of the characters in the play do. In my opinion, he did this so the reader will begin to see how evil Iago is, yet how unjustified his behaviour is. In act 1 scene 1 when Iago suggests rousing Brabantio we start to see that he delights in making trouble. Roderigo speaks to the senator politely, but it is Iago’s crude descriptions of Othello as ‘an old black ram is tupping your white ewe’ which become inappropriate. The animal imagery Iago uses when speaking of Desdemonia’s sexual union with Othello is in keeping with his earlier sneering reference to Cassio being ‘damned in a fair wife’ and his role as matchmaker for Roderigo. Shakespeare perhaps suggests that Iago is foul-mouthed and unable to understand love, or loving relationships. This idea is also developed later on in the play. In Othello Shakespeare presents Iago with having two different motives behind this hatred through his superior: Othello. The first motive Iago uses is that he was passed over for promotion and the job he believes that he deserved was given to Michael Cassio, an arithmetician. To Iago this is a complete slap in the face and would be a very logical reason for being angry with Othello if he had kept his motive consistent. Two scenes later, Iago presents another reason for his hatred to Othello since rumors have spread that Othello and Emilia (Iago’s wife) had slept together. Whether or not this is true, Iago sees this as a good enough reason to...
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