In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, Iago is seen by many as an honest and trustworthy person, though in reality he is a man of deceit and malevolence. This duplicitous nature of Iago’s is arguably one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing antagonists. From the outset, the audience is immediately drawn in by his sinister, yet unclear motives by revealing to them – “I am not what I am”. Iago is truly an evil character: he is extremely immoral and wicked, associating himself with the devil. He shows no remorse as he inflicts misery on those around him, but rather showing pleasure in their misfortunes. How Iago is able to manipulate those around him is largely attributed by his ability to act convincingly in different roles, adapt to different situations as well his brilliant use of language to fool his victim. This suggests that despite his evil nature, he shows the characteristics of a genius. By the end of the play, the audience becomes fascinated by Iago’s ability to manipulate others and the duplicitous nature of Iago and this shows that he is an “evil genius”.
From the opening scene of the play Iago’s amoral, sadistic and deceptive nature is shown as he plans to destroy his superiors, notably Othello. In this first scene, Iago immediately begins scheming ways to destroy Othello, suggesting possible motives as to why he needs to do such things. However, as the play reaches its climax, it is clear that Iago’s motives were not just limited to being “his [Othello] lieutenant”. In a sense, Iago is also deceiving the audience, leading them to believe that his motives to destroy Othello are those highlighted in the opening scene. Iago’s sadistic nature is clearly represented when he wishes to “poison his [Othello] delight”. It suggests that he takes pleasure in spoiling another man’s delight. Iago shows duplicity throughout the play and compares himself “Janus”, the Roman God with two faces, and with the combination of duplicity and deception, Othello cannot see past...
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