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The Evil In Othello Essay

1771 words - 7 pages

IAGO: THE EVIL IN OTHELLO L'Antoinette Lemond One of the most interesting and exotic characters in the tragic play, Othello, is "Honest" Iago. Despite Iago's unquestionable malignancy, the motivation behind his actions lie more in Iago's quest for personal gain, as opposed to just being evil for evil's sake. Iago doesn't have a valid reason for the troubles he cause except that he has a burning hatred for the world, especially Othello. Iago is the main reason why there is conflict in the play and his main interest is the destruction of Othello. The reason being that Othello has chosen another man, Cassio, as his second-in-command, preferring him to Iago. This resentment, accompanied by Iago's fabricated accusations of adultery and blatant racism, cause Iago to despise Othello. Shortly thereafter, Iago begins to conspire against him. Since Iago is much too smart to immediately kill Othello, he proceeds with the process of dismantling him emotionally. Iago also knows that he must distance himself away from any occurrences that transpire, so he cleverly gets other people to do his dirty work. The first victim to fall in Iago's manipulation, is the half-witted Roderigo. Iago is an expert judge of people and uses this to his advantage. For example, Iago knows Roderigo is consumed by the lust for Desdemona, and would do anything to make her his own. Iago tells Roderigo that the only way to win Desdemona's love, is to make money to procure gifts for her. However, Iago is just taking those gifts intended for Desdemona and keeping them for himself, and in doing so, making a substantial profit. "She must have change, she must-therefore put money in thy purse...Make all the money thou canst." (Othello, Act 1, Scene 3, ll. 337-339) "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse" (Othello, Act 1, Scene 3, l. 360)Roderigo eventually starts to question Iago's honesty . When faced with this accusation, Iago simply offers that killing Cassio will aid his cause and the asinine Roderigo falls for it. In doing this, Iago keeps Roderigo in the dark and continues to profit from him momentarily. "I have no great devotion to the deed/And yet he has given me satisfying reason." (Othello, Act 5, Scene 1, ll.8-9) Cassio, like Roderigo, follows Iago blindly, thinking the whole time that Iago is trying to aid him, when in-fact, Iago, motivated by his lust for power, is attempting to depose Cassio of his position as lieutenant. By enlisting the help of Roderigo, Iago is able to bring Cassio to a wreck, causing him to forfeit his position as Othello's second-in-command, thus securing the position for Iago....

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