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How does Shakespeare present Iago's views of life and his motives for hating Othello, what do you think of him?

By posh Apr 12, 2004 1130 Words
Shakespeare makes it quite clear to his audience at the beginning of the play that Iago plays the character of the common criminal, from his opening speech with Roderigo on Iago owing money to Roderigo. When Iago caries out his soliloquy we find out his philosophies on life and as an audience we become aware that he is a very clever and formulated villain this idea is not at all strange for Shakespearian play. In Othello Shakespeare presents Iago in this clever way as it would take a very scheming villain to go up against such a significant hero. We are aware of this hero being so unique as he is the title of the book, to use such an insipid villain this would create a great imbalanced.

Shakespeare shows Iago to be a great absolutist in his moral thinking, he'll have one idea, one moral in life and stick by it no one can change his view. Shakespeare shows Iago's philosophies in life to be; if we wish to be successful in life only within ourselves can we do so. There is this idea that men that do not love themselves love women too much and it is women that have corrupted their original way of thinking. Shakespeare shows this in the language he uses for Iago, the various derogatory metaphors for women "Ere I would change myself for the love of a guinea-hen I would change my humanity with a baboon." The word guinea-hen used is derogatory as it is another word for a prostitute. Iago uses more comparisons which adds to his powers of persuasion when you are planting a herb or a lettuce and you want it to grow stinging nettles always get in the way distract you and conduct you to "preposterous conclusions". In this case women were being the nettles and men being those trying to grow the herbs and the lettuce. Every point that Iago makes tends to be a negative slur against on thing or another.

Shakespeare presents Iago as a character who is very pessimistic in the ideas of love, Iago is married but I believe he sees it as something that must be done in society not an act of love. I believe this is so as Iago is most certain that Desemona's marriage to Othello will not last. "She must change youth, when she is stated with the error of her choice, she must have change she must." Here Shakespeare presents Iago as a man that bases marriage on looks and appearance very stereotypical ideas of which type of people suit. Iago also basis marriage on the correct age compatibility which is very ironic in a time where most marriages consisted of an older man. It may also give the audience the idea that Iago is so confident that his plan will prevail he has no need for second questioning. Iago even believes he can make a bet on such a situation "She must have change, she must therefore I put money on that."

We are shown Iago's shrewd nature again in his soliloquy as Iago speaks "lets unite get our revenge together" this is directed at Roderigo. As an audience we are aware that this is only on face value so is an act of deceit. The audience is aware of this as Iago is only using Roderigo to reach his own goal. This works as Roderigo is in dispute with Othello over his lust for Desdemona Iago uses this to his advantage. Iago is conscious Roderigo is a little slow and will do any thing to try to win Desdemona over. Roderigo speaks "Wilt thou be fast to my hopes, if I depend on the issue?" Iago is very much aware that Desdemona will never enjoy the fruits of Roderigo but Roderigo will aid Iago in his plan to get rid of Michael Cassio and have his job for this reason Iago is in dislike for Othello. I also believe that if Iago had the opportunity he would do everything within his power to acquire Othello's position for the power he cannot get just from being a husband or a regular soldier.

In my view Iago is a confident man he believes his plans will always work, he could also be said to be very ethnocentric believing his philosophies are right no one else's' idea could be right "He wears out his time like his masters ass, for nought but provender, and, then he's old, cashiered." Iago's a very clever man with all his various plans of which to get exactly what he wants in life. He's a man with strong goals through this he can become very successful. I feel that if Iago's plans don't work out he could become a very lonely man, as first and foremost Iago believes you must love yourself if he does not fulfil his goals he is unable to love himself. "I could distinguish betwixt a benefit and an injury I never found a man that new how to love himself."

Iago is an extremely well crafted man in the mind as he knows exactly how to persuade people to get them on side. "I retell thee again and again, I hate the Moor. My cause is hearted, thine hath no less reason: let us be conjunctive in our revenge against him." Here Iago is involving and convincing Roderigo that he is someone to be trusted. First Iago is able to persuade Roderigo then Brobantio and lastly Othello the main enemy in the scenario. Here in fact it is found that each character had some form of quarrel with Iago but there after they are the best of friends.

One of Iago's philosophies is first and foremost one should love themselves this is good to the extent that you can achieve what you want without the burden of others. Although I believe in the end if you base your whole life upon it you will become very alone as everyone will find out Iago's base line and will not agree with it.

Overall I feel Iago's has been well thought out a well created character he is not indecisive in the slightest and he knows exactly how to treat people to reach his goals. Iago's only down fall I feel is that if he's plans don't go right for him he may become a bitter person who hates society. He already has this frame of mind the only thing that keeps him going is his strive for success and his goals but I believe even if he does reach as high as to Othello's position he will never be truly happy because he'll always want more. As he doesn't know how to accept things for the way they are for this reason has never experienced true love.

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