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Iago In William Shakespeare's Othello Essay

2559 words - 10 pages

Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello

Iago has many motives for destroying the other characters in the play.
One of these is jealousy. Iago is jealous of Othello, Desdemona,
Cassio and even his own wife, Emilia. He is jealous of Othello for
many reasons. Iago wants the power and the respect that Othello has.
We see this in Act 2 scene 1 where Iago says ‘the moor- howbeit I
endure him not- is of a constant, loving, noble nature’ which hints
that he wants what Othello has as they are both opposites and these
attributes may be the ones he will need to gain power. Iago is jealous
of Othello’s marriage with the senator’s daughter as it gives Othello
even more power and an attractive wife- he envies Othello for his wife
as he states ‘I do love her too’ which suggest that Iago may have
feelings towards Desdemona making him more jealous of what Othello
has. Also Iago is crude and racist and always calls Othello the ‘moor’
which is a racist term. This could be the reason for his jealousy as
he finds the fact that Othello is above him quite unnatural. In his
soliloquy, Iago states ‘he’s done my office’ referring to Othello,
which means Othello has slept with his wife making him even more
jealous, even though he does not know if it is true or not. Iago is
also jealous of Desdemona. He wants to be in her place- he wants to be
an influential person to Othello- he wants to be closer to him thus
closer to power. He twists the fact that Othello is passionate and
obsessed with Desdemona to his own advantage. We see this when Iago
states that he will ‘put the moor at least into a jealousy so strong
that judgement cannot cure’ meaning that Iago will use Othello’s
potential jealousy to make him feel the same way he does, but he knows
Othello will loose control- leading to murder.

In Act 2 scene 1, we see that Iago has misogynistic views on women
when he states ‘you are pictures out of doors… in your beds’ which
suggests he believes women are only sex objects. Iago is also jealous
of Desdemona, because they are exact opposites and he desires what he
lacks. We can tell that they are opposites as Desdemona is described
as ‘divine’ and ‘perfection’ whereas Iago associates himself with the
devil by saying ‘when devils will the blackest sins put on, they do
suggest at first with heavenly shows as I do now.’ Iago is extremely
jealous of Cassio too. He mentions that Cassio is ‘a proper man’ which
hints that Iago is envious of his looks and luck with women. At the
beginning of the play, Iago tells Roderigo ‘three great ones of the
city, in personal suit to make me his lieutenant, off- capped to him;
and by the faith of man, I know my price, I am worth no worse a place’
which shows us how much he wants the job and how confident he is that
he will get it. When Cassio gets the job instead it naturally makes

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