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The Character of Iago in Sheakspear's Merchants of Venice

By Suhanri Nov 06, 2011 479 Words
Act one starts out with Iago and Roderigo walking in the streets of Venice. Iago is expressing his hate towards Othello. From the beginning of Shakespeare’s play, one realizes that Iago is the villain or antagonist. There is no doubt that he has only evil intentions, but often without a reason. It is said that Iago is the worst hypocrite Shakespeare has invented. IN the play he also boasts about the fact that he is only playing a part. Only the reader sees that he is a very dishonest, deceitful man. All in the play except Roderigo regards him as honest. Iago manipulates people into liking him, and then he uses their trust in him, against them to bring them down. Iago lies and plants seeds of doubts in order to destroy others and their relationships. When his own plots are in danger, he encourages anger and makes mischief between others. One would think that Iago has no conscious; he acts immorally time after time without a hint of guilt. He is young and very keen to have things working out in his way. Iago’s evil battle to bring others down only exceeds to some extent. This is brought by the fact that other characters trust in Iago’s ‘honesty’, and this is the main thing that brings them to a fall. Iago knows this, and uses it to his advantage. In Iago’s motives we also realize that he rather uses the psychological rather than physical to force his victims to actually participate in their own downfall. In all his motives, you can see that he uses the weaknesses of others against them ex. Roderigo’s frustrated love to Desdemona, Brabantio’s pride and family honour, Desdemona’s easy trust and gullibility and innocence. Iago doesn’t ever really have proof of his suspicions about Othello and Cassio, but only based on his jealousy; the extent of his revenge one can see his envious hatred. His motive could also be what he admits only later in the play, ‘the daily beauty of Cassios life”, that makes him so ugly. Iago’s schemes for the destruction of Othello start out by his jealousy over Cassio being appointed lieutenant. And from then on it seems to be a chain of circumstances that pulls him into mischief. At first he resents Othello for promoting cassio, when he is more experienced. Then Othello’s marriage generates a new hatred. Cyprus provides perfect conditions for iagos plans. Cassio is exposed as irresponsible by his drunken brawl, and he is desperate for Desdemona to get favour for him, Desdemona drops the precious handkerchief and Emilia finds it. Iago might not have intended such drastic results in his destruction, but it lead to his own disaster, and through Othello’s vulnerability, this noble African general destroyed himself and what he loves.

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