The Art of Villainy in Shakespeare's play

Topics: Othello, William Shakespeare, Iago Pages: 5 (1464 words) Published: December 3, 2013
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3 May 2013

Edmund Vs. Iago: A Comparitive Analysis Of Shakespeare's Villains VILLAINY OF EDMUND AND LAGO IN SHAKESPEAREAN PLAYS
INTRODUCTION
The plots of all Shakespearean tragedies follow a similar sequence of events. Typically Conflicts arise due to twist of events that set the two characters that had initially enjoyed a good relationship with each other on opposing ends. First it begins with the Exposition stage; this is where the reader is introduced to the setting under which the conflict arises, the characters involved and the state of issues at the time. The next stage is the build-up of events that will later culminate into the conflict. Here the conflict develops and grows. The final stage entails the climax of all events that emerge to turn the already matured conflict into a catastrophe (Bradley 41-43). For instance it is in the climax of the King Lear’s play that the spiteful son of Gloucester, Edgar kills his illegitimate brother in cold blood. Everything is left in chaos as the king dies and the remnants of the lost war, Albany, Edgar and Kent are left to deal with the pain and loss of their loved one.

COMPARISION BETWEEN EDMUND IN KING LEAR V. LAGO IN
OTHELLO
Taking on their differences, Shakespeare paints the two characters as utterly villain not only in their actions but in their words too. Imagery and metaphors used in the plays are clear evidence of the depth of feeling and emotions involved.

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Edmund is the bustard son of Gloucester. The latter goes ahead to openly to declare the same in his statements when introducing his son to a friend "Though this knave came something saucily into the world before he was called for, yet was his mother fair; there was good sport at his making, and the whoreson must be acknowledged " (1.i. 21-24). Shakespeare hints that the mother of Edmund must have been a whore and her beautiful features might have been transferred to her bustard son. Clearly Gloucester did not like the young man at all. The playwright asserts that Edmund wasn’t such a likeable character because even his own father insulted him! His hatred for the his bigger brother was based on the fact that the elder brother would inherited everything their father and he would get nothing second born son in the family. That made him justify his villainy actions as he quotes ‘’The curiosity of nations to deprive me, For that I am some twelve or fourteen moon-shines .Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?’ (1.ii. 03-05).

On the other hand, lago is a trusted soldier under Othello. The two have a mutual relationship until the former is bypassed in the award of a promotion which is given to Michael Cassio by Othello. He utters out his hatred to Roderigo against the two although not much to Cassio as Othello in his sentiments ‘’One Michael Cassio, a Florentine (A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife), That never set a squadron in the field But he, sir, had th' election ...’’ (1.i. 20-22).

Themes relating Edmund and Lago
1. Motives
Lago’s quest for revenge and treachery is instigated by the fact that although he was most preferred as the new lieutenant, Cassio is given the position instead. This at first is the main reason why he plans to see Othello suffer. He is so spiteful as he refers to Othello as a “Barbary horse,” and “old black ram,” Initially as his plans fail to materialise and some are thwarted, his grip momentarily loosens only to revert and tighten even more. His motives

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vary as the plot unveils. At an instance his vengeful desire against Othello is fuelled by the award of a promotion to another yet at another instant he claims to suspect an affair between the latter and his wife Emilia. This is evident in his statement ‘’ ... I hate the Moor; and it is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets’ (1.iii. 387)’. It is clearly indicated that lago hates Othello because the latter is...

Cited: Amanda Mabillard, 05/09/2010 acessed from http://www.shakespeareonline.com/plays/othello/iagochar.html.
Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
October 30, 2005 [EBo ok #16966]. Accessed from http://www.pgdp.net. Pdf
Canning, Albert Stratford George. Shakespeare Studied in Six Plays . London: T. F. Unwin,
1907. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009. Accessed on 2nd may 2013
< http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/othello/othellovillain.html >.
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