Iago As A Psychoopath In Shakespeare's Othello

1231 Words 5 Pages
We as people do not always understand what brings others to do bad things, and while it may be hard to fathom, sometimes those who do these terrible acts may themselves not understand why. A psychopath is an example of this type of person. Someone diagnosed with psychopathy has a personality disorder which manifests as symptoms like amoral and antisocial behaviour and a lack of ability to love or establish meaningful relationships, thus causing them to act as though no one else matters but themselves. Shakespeare addresses this illness and its implications in his play Othello where he characterizes his antagonist, Iago, as a psychopath. Shakespeare characterizes Iago with many signs and symptoms of this mental ailment; three of the most striking …show more content…
Firstly, Iago uses Roderigo as a pawn in his plot to bring down Othello. This is initially exhibited in the first scene, when we meet them both and Iago is in the midst of tricking money out of him. He exploits Roderigo’s love for Desdemona by convincing him that if he gives him all of his money, he will help him win her over. Since he of course has no real intention of helping Roderigo but still has him convinced we can tell what a master of manipulation Iago is. A bit later in the act, after his exchange with Roderigo, Iago even makes an analogy to gardens; “our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners” (1.3.307-13) using imagery like “sow lettuce”, “set hyssop”, “weed up thyme” and “manured”. This metaphor lets us see Iago as the master gardener, planting his schemes and growing other people to his will by manipulating theirs, and reinforces that this is his midset. Another anecdote of Iago’s talent of manipulation is how he plans to manipulate Othello’s demise in any way he possibly can. This is displayed when he tells Othello, “Do it not with poison, strangle her in bed” (4.1.202) when forming his plan to kill Desdemona. He wants to play with Othello’s emotions even further by convincing him to kill Desdemona in an even more personal way. As this plan is …show more content…
Even though Iago had been married to Emilia for years, he still shows no connection to his own wife, constantly mocking her and using her for his schemes as well. While Iago simply makes vulgar jokes about women, and calls Emilia a “foolish wife” (3.3.313), Shakespeare uses the affectionate relationship of Desdemona and Othello in contrast to theirs in order to emphasize the fact that Iago never exhibits any affection for her, only criticism. His disconnection is set in stone when in Act V Scene 2, Iago stabs and kills her without a second thought when she gets in his way by revealing his scheme. In contrast, Emilia has always felt a bit of a duty to her husband, saying "I nothing but to please his fantasy," (3.3.310) revealing that she cares for him and thus to her, they were in fact somewhat close, This means there must have been some bonding that was unable to reach Iago, but could in fact affect a sound person. Iago again displays his lack of emotional connection when he cold-bloodedly kills Roderigo. Even though he had only been using him, any average person would have shown the slightest bit of difficulty in slaughtering someone who had trusted and thought of them as a friend. However Iago never breaks character from his scheme as Roderigo pleads for help, crying “O murd 'rous slave! O villain!” (5.1.64) heartlessly keeping up his

Related Documents

Related Topics