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Is Iago A Psychopath? Essay

1168 words - 5 pages

Driven by an overbearing lust for evil that only a pure psychopath can have, Iago is not only one of literature’s worst villain’s, but he also is a heinous psychopath, whom possesses absolutely no capacity for human kindness or virtue. While Iago claims to be motivated by obtaining revenge of Othello and by jealousy of Michael Cassio, his actions suggest that of a diagnosis of psychopathic personality disorder, as his motivations contradict each other, and are not sufficient to constitute the level of destruction he employs. According to the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of mental disorders, an individual can be diagnosed as a psychopath if they show a minimum of five out of eight of the ...view middle of the document...

Mere prattle without practice
Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had th’ election;
And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof
At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on [other] grounds

This selection of text shows how fondly Iago thinks of himself. It also shows his sense of entitlement, as he conveys the message that he is better than everyone else, especially Cassio, and that he deserves the promotion. There is also added emphasis on “And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof / At Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on [other] grounds” (I.I.129-130), as the focus immediately turns solely upon himself. This shows his selfishness.
In addition to Iago’s grandiose self-perception, Iago also is easily able to manipulate and con others into doing what he wishes. He first manipulates in Act 1, Scene 1, when he and Roderigo awaken Brabantio. To obtain Brabantio’s attention, he yells, “[Zounds,] sir, you’re robbed” (I.I.94). While Brabantio is robbed metaphorically of his daughter, Desdemona, it appears that Iago yells this merely to grab Brabantio’s attention. Secondly, after Roderigo discovers that Desdemona has gotten married to Othello, Roderigo threatens, “I will incontinently drown myself” (I.III.347). Iago instead suggests that he “put money in thy purse” (I.III.382) to win Desdemona over. He tells Roderigo,
These Moors are
changeable in their wills. Fill thy purse with money.
The food that to him now is as luscious as locusts
shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida.
She must change for youth. When she is sated
with his body she will find the [error] of her choice.
Therefore, put money in thy purse.
Meanwhile in Iago’s soliloquy, he reveals,

Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.
For I mine own gained knowledge should profane
If I would time expend with such [a] snipe
But for my sport and profit.

This is classic manipulation of a psychopath. Here, Iago is saying that he is only using Roderigo for his money. Towards the end of Act 1, Scene 1, Iago confesses that “[he is] not what [he is]” (I.I.71). Additionally, Iago uses Cassio’s weaknesses: his strong desire to be accepted and his inability to hold his liquor for his own personal gain. He manipulates Cassio into drinking another glass of wine by urging him to, claiming that “the gallants desire it”...

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