Iago of "Othello"
What makes a good villain? What qualities make one villain stand out from another? Is it their demeanor, ruthlessness, or the methods that they employ to accomplish their tasks? In any case, a great villain must leave the reader with a respect for their methods and a question about their motives. In Shakespeare's Othello, there is one character in Iago that fulfills all of these qualifications. Iago is a wonderful villain because he gains other's trust, relentlessly takes advantage of his peers' flaws, and unapologetically causes the deaths of his counterparts in order to achieve his goals.
The main weapon Iago used in his villainy was trust. Iago knew how to play to each character's personality to get them to believe what he said over anyone else's word, earning him the nickname "Honest Iago" in the play. He is able to get many people like Roderigo, Othello, and Cassio to confide in him and give him information that they would not divulge to anyone else. In Roderigo's case their relationship is established quickly in the play with these words of his: "That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse / As if the strings were thine should know of this." Also, Iago maintains close contact with Cassio and Othello throughout the play. Aside from being Othello's right-hand man throughout a majority of the play, he also has a level of comfort with Cassio. This comfort is shown in his willingness to talk about Desdemona when the two are on night patrol. This reliance was something Iago exploited each time he had a chance. Every time a desire was expressed, Iago was there with a solution that always benefited Iago in the end. For instance, it was Iago that suggested to Roderigo that he attempt to kill Cassio in order to get Desdemona to be interested in him. It was also Iago's work in stoking up the fires of revenge in Othello's belly regarding the "affair" between Desdemona and Cassio. For each situation, every word that was said was for the advancement...
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