Iago In Shakespeare's Othello, The Moor Of Venice

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In “Othello, the Moor of Venice” the audience is introduced to a devil of a villain named Iago. Iago is a black male soldier of North African Origins in the Venetian military under the command of Othello. Iago’s is known as an accomplished soldier referred to as “honest Iago”. Unlike his nickname, Iago is everything but honest with the characters in this play, and much like the devil he represents, he is full of deceit and arrogance. Many critics argue that Iago’s actions stem from self-loathing, however, Iago’s personal opinion of himself is presented in his soliloquies as one who is better, cleverer, and more ambitious than those around him. Iago’s first soliloquy comes at the closing of Act 1, when Roderigo leaves to sell his lands …show more content…
He understands these are immoral, but falls victim regardless. In Act 2 scene 3 he is speaking alone after he uses Cassio and alcohol to provoke Roderigo, resulting in Cassio killing Montano and being fired by Othello. Cassio gets advice from Iago on how to ask Desdemona to petition Othello to reinstate his status as lieutenant. Iago defends his advice for Cassio by saying Othello’s “soul is so enfettered to her love” (Act 2 Scene 3 Line 339). Iago reveals his evil plans and refers to his advice to Cassio as the “divinity of hell!” (Act 2 Scene 3 Line 344). This again displays Iago’s self-image to the audience, by referring to his evil actions coming from hell. Act 2 Scene 2 Lines 345-347 continues to display Iago’s evil, “when devils will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest at first with heavenly shows, as I do now”.” There is clearly no doubt that Iago recognizes the evil in his actions, but is honored by his deviancy. Just like a devil he abhors goodness and wants to “…turn her virtue into a pitch… that shall enmesh them all.” (Act 2 Scene 3 Lines …show more content…
These evil traits are that clearly display Iago’s need to place his personal needs and desires before others. Ultimately Iago destroyed Othello, and caused the death of Desdemona and Roderigo, but is exposed by his failure to kill Cassio. After his plot and scheme failed, Iago was taken into custody. His attitude of his failure is best summed up when he says, “the reason for Iago’s obstinate silence to Othello’s final question is due both to a sense of unrelieved contempt and also to his unforeseen, self-annihilating, intellectual defeat.” (Othello, 1997). It is not the failure of killing Cassio that troubled Iago, it is the fact that he failed to fulfill this evil plan, therefore, failed to self-reward and gain personal gratification. Failure is the demise for self-consumed

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