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The Psychoanalytic Perspective in Relation to Iago

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The Psychoanalytic Perspective in Relation to Iago

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  • April 18, 2004
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There are a number of perspectives that a critic can use to interpret a work of literature. One perspective, the psychological approach, deals with interpreting the text by using what is known about psychology. Some critics will try and understand the writers while, "still other critics employ methods of Freudian psychoanalysis to understand not only the writers themselves such as Shakespeare but the literary characters they create" (DiYanni 635). In Shakespeare's play, "The Tragedy of Othello," a critic might want to use the psychoanalytic approach to help understand Iago. To do this, one might look at the characters and their wants, needs, and desires. The will also look at the character relationships to help come up with a psycho-analysis for the characters. The main goal of this approach is figure out why the characters are the way they are, and make assumptions about why they acted the way they did according to psychology.

In Othello, many characters take various actions that might strike the audience as disturbing or odd. Iago is one of the main characters who continually takes stunning actions. In this paper I plan to demonstrate the psychoanalytic approach by analyzing Iago and trying to explain why he might have made some of the actions that he did. I also plan on discussing possible motives for his actions.

Iago is a main character who continuously acts on other characters throughout the play. He could be viewed as a "master-manipulator." He continuously tries to make people believe what he wants them to believe. He will make up lies and twist stories for

reasons that sometimes are hard to figure out. Using the Freudian concepts of the conscious and the unconscious I will analyze Iago's behavior thought the play.

According the Freud, "The unconscious contains all those drives, urges, or instincts that are beyond our awareness but that nevertheless motivate most of our words, feelings, and actions" (Feist 23). Unconsciously, Iago may be...