What Motivates Iago
In literature, there have always been antagonists and protagonists. There is none as well known and recognized as "Honest Iago" from Shakespeare's play Othello, The Moor of Venice. In this essay I will be looking at what motivates Iago's Character from different approaches and give my opinion of his actions. Shakespeare has given a clear image of a villain who is very nasty that even the term immoral doesn't suffice. He adds depth to his antagonist by making him amoral.
Iago is the most trusted advisor of the General Othello. He begins the play discontented. Iago feels that he has been unfairly passed up for the lieutenant position which has been given to "Forsooth, a great arithmetician, One Michael Cassie, a Florentine, A fellow almost damned in a fair wife, That never set a squadron in the field Nor the division of a battle knows," (1.1.20-24). Iago is cross with Othello for choosing someone inexperienced, not even of a military unit, and only knows war from a book. Iago is a very clever person and uses that power for evil acts, like revenge. He manipulates others, changing their views and the way they think, having them carry out his dirty work. Iago has also disliked the moor because of a mere suspicion from long ago, "I hate the moor, and it is though abroad that twixt my sheets He's done my office," (1.3.363-365). Not only does he want revenge against Othello for giving his promotion to someone else that he thought he deserved, he thinks that Othello once slept with his own wife, Emilia.
Besides Othello, Iago has a grudge against Cassio. He can't stand Cassio having anything beautiful in his life because it makes him feel ugly in comparison. "If Cassio do remain He hath a daily beauty in his life That makes me ugly, (5.1.18-20). Even though he is mad that Othello gave the lieutenant position to Cassio and wants revenge, he partially puts blame on Cassio for this as well, because he is envious of...