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Shakespeare's Othello The Character Of Iago

933 words - 4 pages

The Character of Iago

 
   In Othello, by William Shakespeare, one of the most intriguing characters is Iago. At first glance he seems to be pure evil, but I think his actions are much more complex. Through thought-out words and actions Iago is able to manipulate others to do things that benefit him and move him closer to his goals. This character is consumed with envy and deceit that leads to theft and killing. Iago is the main driving force in this play, pushing Othello and the other characters towards their tragic endings.

 

Iago is not your ordinary villain. He is smart and an expert judge of people's character and uses this to his advantage. For example, he knows Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and figures Roderigo would do anything to have her as his own. Iago states, "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse." By playing on his hopes Iago is able to swindle money and jewels from Roderigo, making a substantial profit and making him a pawn in his plan. Iago is also quick on his feet and able to improvise when the unexpected occurs.

 

Being of smart mind, Iago is quick to recognize the advantages of trust, thus using it as a tool in forwarding his goals. Throughout the play he is often referred to and known as "honest Iago." He even states, "I am an honest man..." Trust is a powerful emotion that can easily be abused. As seen with Othello who, "holds (him) well/The better shall (Iago's) purpose work on him." Iago's use of his trust is greatly abused and beneficial only to him. His "med'cine works! Thus credulous fools are caught..." Iago slowly poisons people's thoughts, implanting ideas in their heads without implication to himself. Iago, a masterful deceiver, says, "And what's he then that says I play the villain, when this advice is free I give, and honest." People rarely stop to consider the possibility that Iago is not only deceiving but also manipulating because he is "honest Iago."

 

At the beginning of the play the reader sees Roderigo taken advantage of by Iago, and throughout the play he is subject to being made a fool. Roderigo remarks. "That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse as if the strings were thine." Throughout the play Iago leads Roderigo by the collar professing his "hate (of) the Moor" and telling Roderigo to "make money" so that he can give gifts to Desdemona to win her heart. Throughout the whole play Iago is taking those gifts intended for Desdemona and keeping them for himself. Roderigo eventually...

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