Othello Character Analysis
In Othello, Shakespeare tells the story of the soldier Othello, a noble and respected man, whose insecurities enable him to fall prey to the overwhelming power of jealousy. Through manipulation and lies, Othello changes from a kind and faithful husband into a man completely taken over by jealousy, resulting in his downfall. This shift in Othello’s character is done by the antagonist, Iago. Iago’s cruelty to not only Othello, but all others around him, reveals his villainous personality. Iago acts through selfish reasons alone, and stops at no lengths in order to get to what he wants. Through the character Iago, Shakespeare, in his play Othello, explores the concept of the evil nature of man and argues that one who is motivated purely by greed and the desire for power will ultimately face the consequences of his or her actions. Iago is one of the most interesting characters in Othello. He is full of jealousy, greed, selfishness, and hatred. At first, it seems Iago is only jealous of Othello because he has chosen Cassio for lieutenant instead of Iago. When it is revealed Iago is developing a plot in order to take down Othello, a shift in Iago’s character is seen. He is not only jealous, but he acts on his jealousy, making him appear crueler than when first introduced. As Iago explains, “The Moor is of a free and open nature that thinks men honest that but seem to be so, and will as tenderly be led by th' nose as asses are. I have ’t. It is engendered! Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light” (I.iii.336-341). Iago notices Othello’s character and acts on his weaknesses, showing both his cruelty and intelligence. Iago deceives Othello, who trusts him the most throughout the story, often referring to Iago as “honest Iago” (I.iii.294). Shakespeare uses irony continuously throughout the play when it comes to Iago. One of the most ironic parts of the play is the fact Othello puts great trust into Iago, who lies...
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