Professor Lance Norman
1 April 2014
Iago, The Honest Villain of Venice
In the Shakespearian play “Othello, The Moore of Venice” we as readers are lead through a winding catacomb of deceit by non-other than the amoral villain “Good and Honest Iago”. The aforementioned anti-hero is an incredibly complex character that must be thoroughly analyzed for the reader to interpret the play to its full potential. Iago’s weapon of choice is of course the spoken word. He uses his quick wit and intellect to ensnare his prey into a web of disillusion where they will meet their untimely demise leaving none other than Iago to fill the position of General in the Venetian Army. Thus the motive to be given is greed and thy sword edged with convictions of jealousy and deceit. After almost every act of heresy Iago addresses the audience as if to pay homage to the cleverly evil craftsmanship in which his schemes embody. It is from these maniacal proclamations that we will draw our analysis.
Our first golden nugget of interpretation comes on page 547 where Iago has just ousted Othello and Desdemona for their secret wedding and convinced Roderigo to pay him in return for sabotaging their marriage, effectively allowing Roderigo to gain access to Desdemona’s heart. After Roderigo has exited the scene Iago discloses his ulterior motives behind this act of deception; that he will use Roderigo’s money to finance his efforts in convincing Othello that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. This is not merely to drive Othello and Desdemona apart but to also taint Othello’s view of Cassio so that Iago can position himself to gain Cassio’s rank of Lieutenant, effectively climbing the hierarchy of the military. This insight tips the reader as to just how well versed in war and battle tactics Iago really is. After all Iago is waging psychological warfare on his opponents and doing so very strategically, always planning three or four steps ahead. Iago also...
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