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Iago The Hero: Character Analysis Of Iago From William Shakepeare's Othello

1843 words - 7 pages

Though Iago plays as a character of pure evil in Shakespeare's Othello, he actually is the hero in Othello. Usually when one speaks of heroes, one imagines a person who is selfless, noble, brave, courageous, infinite valor, everything in which Iago does not represent. He is not the same type of hero that King Arthur or Achilles represents. Iago is a different sort of hero in Othello. The type of hero Iago falls into is the Satanic/Miltonic/Byronic hero, made popular in the nineteenth century. In Milton's, Paradise Lost, Satan was a being to be admired for overcoming tremendous obstacles, using intelligence and bravery. The difference between the satanic hero and the traditional hero is that the satanic hero's ends are those of vengeance and evil, and his means are deceit. Satan, like Iago, is a very complex and interesting character in his actions and words. The Satanic hero is also the character, which people find them more related to. God the Father was a perfect being, who could predict the future and control the present. People found that they are similar to Satan because of his flaws. Unlike God or the Angels, Satan had characteristics that people related with such as intelligence, self-respect, pride, reason, and gloom. Satan and Iago are the rebels in their own literary microcosms. Satan and Iago challenged conventional morality of absoluteness, a universe of black and white, and proposed his idea relativity, a world that consists of shades of gray. In their acts of manipulation and deceit, it is found that Iago and Satan were using the reason versus passion arguments in tempting their counterparts. There are also many characteristics, subtle and apparent, shared between Iago and the Satan from Milton's epic. Iago has both the pros and cons of the satanic hero, pride, charisma, energy, despair, intelligence, contempt for mankind, and avarice. With this bromide of shared qualities and circumstances between Satan and Iago, is Iago the true protagonist in the play?Both Paradise Lost and Othello have experiment with the idea that the world is not solely comprised with right and wrong, black and white, heaven and hell. Originally in both stories, there was a belief that all actions that occur are absolute. Absolute is meaning that each action is of either solely good or evil. God from Paradise Lost and Othello from Othello promote the theory of absoluteness. God, Adam, and the Angels believe that there is a clear distinction between right and wrong and a very clear division between heaven and hell. Othello also believes that there is the right moral thing to do, and that there is the wrong evil thing to do. The prevalent ideas of absoluteness do not ascend freely though. The Satanic heroes discover in their stories that the universe is an abyss of gray. Satan and Iago have an existential outlook that the world that surrounds them is indifferent to their actions, so they are doing their best to maximize their individual experiences:Me miserable!...

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