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Iago The Living Janus Essay

1682 words - 7 pages

There are many people that are considered sociopaths in the world, many of which hold high ranks in our society; amongst those many people you could find presidents and CEO's of companies, all willing to do whatever it takes to step on all kinds of people to get to the top of the social classes. If the definition of a sociopath is someone with an emotional and behavior disorder, clear perception of reality save for the person's social and moral obligations and often by the pursuit of immediate gratification in criminal acts or sexual perversion then Iago fits the description perfectly. Iago of all people wields the power of manipulation like no other man in Othello; he has a complete lack of empathy, is aggressive and he is a master deceiver.
To begin with, Iago in the play has a complete lack of empathy towards his peers and general surrounding; although Iago seems to care about his friends, most sociopaths are liked because of their charm and high charisma but they do not care about others. The problem with the Iago's lack of empathy is that he is the reason there are conflicts in the whole play. The life of Othello and Desdemona as well as Cassio and Roderigo would be without problems if it were not for Iago. Since the beginning of the play Iago explains his hatred for Othello for making Cassio lieutenant and he would go to far lengths to take his rightful position just as an average sociopath of our time would. Iago demonstrates no empathy in the acts that he commits towards everyone in the play; he pulls off such acts by following the footsteps of his preferred god, Janus. Janus is the two faced god in which Iago praises; Iago establishes this connection by seeming to be someone he is not. Iago in the play is known as Honest Iago, this is ironic because he is far from being honest; there are not many paths Iago will not take to obtain what he desires, he uses the flaws of his friends to his advantage to play with their minds and manipulate them into doing things they would have never thought possible like murdering their own wife. Iago mentions that men should be what they seem at a point in the play, but in reality this is the biggest ruse he makes up to his peers to make them believe in his lies. "Were I the Moor I would not be Iago. In following him I follow but myself; Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty, But seeming so for my peculiar end. For when my outward action doth demonstrate the native act and figure of my heart in compliment extern, ’tis not long after But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at. I am not what I am." (Shakespeare, Othello 57-65) In this part of the play, Roderigo and Iago are having a conversation and Iago tells that by following Othello he is not doing it by duty or love he only feels like he will be able to exploit Othello and getting revenge on him because he believes that he slept with his wife. Iago mentions that people who are what they seem are foolish, and that he is not who...

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