It seems captivating that an interesting and clever character in a play, would be the villain, such is the case in Othello. At first Iago seems to be unprovoked. However, the motivation behind his actions lies more in Iago's quest for personal gain, as opposed to just being sinister. Iago's covetousness can be validated by examining his manipulation of Cassio, Roderigo and most importantly, Othello. Shakespeare explores universal ideas throughout the play through the characterization of Iago to bring to the fore the complexities of humanity and the duality of man. Shakespeare uses the characterization of Iago to evoke many emotions from the audience; this is composed through elements of theatre and literary discourse. Othello was set in the Elizabethan era therefore the audiences response would be very different in comparison to today’s society due to changes in areas such as values and attitudes. However, what remains constant across time are our emotions towards the play, they change with the storyline, yet throughout, it demands a deep repulsion for the villain Iago.
Iago is the epitome of honesty. Honesty is the most continually reiterated idea explored in Shakespeare’s Othello and is used to reinforce to the audience what happens when you go looking for dishonesty. This is conveyed consistently throughout Othello through the use of repetition and dramatic irony. Shakespeare addresses the question of honesty, deceit and treachery through the use of repetition of “honest Iago”; the characters do not seem to notice Iago’s dishonesty. On the contrary, they praise him for being so honest. Short dramatic exclamatory sentences such as “o monstrous, monstrous!” are used to emphasise Othello’s lack of control and the power Iago has through the use of prose, reflecting the darker more sinister aspects of his dialogue. Othello’s fatal flaw and weakness lies in his hubris. It is due to his obsession with his pride, his self-esteem and his self image which leads to...
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