Iago And Betrayal In “Othello”

Topics: Management, Balance sheet, Marketing, Strategic management, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Short story / Pages: 11 (2545 words) / Published: Oct 15th, 2013
AP
05/11/11
Iago And Betrayal In “Othello”
“Othello” is one of the most successful plays in Shakespeare’s collection. One of the subjects the tragedy addresses is betrayal which is a crucial part of the play that helps the author develop events to bring it to its climax. Iago’s character symbolizes disloyalty, but what are the motives of his treachery? It seems like there is not enough reason for his actions. By creating Iago in “Othello” as perhaps a masterpiece villain comparing to all his other plays, Shakespeare introduces to the audience and reader an evil type of person who unfortunately exists in society, and he suggests that disloyalty is just part of such person’s nature, so one could betray for the sake of betrayal itself.
Iago is one of the main characters in “Othello”. Being perhaps the most monstrous villain in Shakespeare, Iago is intriguing for his most awful attribute: disloyalty. From the beginning of the play, Iago is introduced as a deceiving character. As E. A. J. Honigmann, the editor of the Arden Shakespeare, points out, Iago expresses his anger towards Othello not merely for passing lieutenancy over to Cassio instead of giving it to him, but he is mad because he is not considered to be good enough for being an officer (37). People who have self esteem and virtues, would probably leave Othello instead of serving him, but for Iago that would not be a wise step to make, “I follow him to serve my turn upon him”, (Act 1. scene 1. 41). It is perhaps not a surprise for a sly person like Iago to think higher of himself, “By the faith of man I know my price, I am worth no worse a place” (Act 1. Scene 1. 8). Since Iago was expecting to get the position himself and did not get it, he is holding a grudge and wants revenge from both Othello and Cassio. In order to achieve his goal, Iago is working with an ally whom he manipulates and uses just like he does with everyone else in the play. Like Honigmann notices, Iago does this under the disguise of



Cited: Craig, Hardin, and Bevington, David, eds. The Complete Works Of Shakespeare. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1973. Print. Farley, Frank. “What makes politicians stray?”. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Web. May 22, 2011. May 25, 2011. Fergusson, Francis. Shakespeare: The Pattern In His Carpet. New York, NY: Delacorte Press. 1970. Print. Honigman, E. A. J, ed. Othello. Croatia: Arden Shakespeare, 2001. Print. Magill, Frank, ed. Masterplots. Vol. 8. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1976. Print. 12 vols. Maslin, Janet. “Othello (1995): Film Review; Fishburne and Branagh Meet Their Fate in Venice”. New York Times. New York Times. Web. Dec. 14, 1995. May 25, 2011. Othello. Dir. Oliver Parker. Perf. Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, and Irene Jacob. Castle Rock Entertainment, 1995. Film. Zender, Karl F. "The humiliation of Iago." Studies in English Literature (Rice) 34.2 (1994): 323. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 27 May 2011.

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