Iago’s Use of Language and Villainous Behavior in Shakespeare’s Othello
In Othello, Shakespeare forms the villainous character, Iago through his complex language. Iago shows his evil nature towards Roderigo through his use of demeaning animal imagery. Iago also uses an extended metaphor to try and trick the ignorant Roderigo and (unknowingly to Roderigo), insults him. Lastly, Iago uses repetition to beguile Roderigo to keep paying him. Iago’s slyness is clearly seen through his deceiving language towards the end of Act I.
In Act I, scene iii, line 319, Iago addresses the issue of love and lust through an extended
metaphor. In this speech, after Roderigo says he wants to kill himself, Iago tries to convince Roderigo not to end his life for a woman. By doing this, he manages to give the impression that he is advising Roderigo, while at the same time insulting him and making him and others part of his plan. Iago states, “Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners” suggesting that our will (the “gardener”) has power over our bodies (“the garden”). Also, while trying to convince Roderigo not to kill himself, Iago uses statements in which negative words are the subject such as, “So that if we plant nettles...”, “set hyssop and weed up thyme”. Because nettles, hyssop, and thyme can all be referred to as weeds, Roderigo gives a negative tone. However, this is not the only place where it is seen that Iago uses negativity.
Iago also uses animal imagery to beguile the ignorant Roderigo. In Act I, scene iii,...