Iago Unsympathetic Character Analysis

1344 Words 6 Pages
‘Iago is a totally unsympathetic character’. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Othello was written by Shakespeare in 1604. It is a gripping play entailing the story of a black General, Othello, his love, Desdemona, and their eventual death. It is a cultivating tale of race, betrayal and love in which one character, Iago, captivates the audience with his personality and schemes that arguably connect all the characters, events and themes. Iago is a tortured soul, clearly unhappy and not content or confident in himself, so therefore vulnerable to jealousy and other ugly traits. However, his capability of manipulation, treachery and even murder makes him a dishonest, unkind and cruel human being.

In many ways Iago is an unsympathetic
…show more content…
Iago shows this needless offensive and bigoted attitude when he first talks of Othello, saying, “I hate the moor”, demonstrating his hatred for Othello not just for his personality or actions but for the way he is. “Moor” is a derogatory slang word for people of African or Middle Eastern descent. The use of this word in Iago’s dialogue shows he believes himself above Othello and hates him for holding a higher position despite his race. Another example of Iago’s self-righteousness is when he, talking about Cassio, states that, “for I mine own gained knowledge should profane / If I would time expend with such a snipe / but for my own sport and profit”, again exhibiting his belief that he is above others. He calls Cassio a “snipe” which is ironic because it is Iago that talks of Othello behind his back whilst Cassio only speaks highly of his General. Here he comes across as vein as he believes that Cassio is not worth his …show more content…
He is insecure and clearly vulnerable to jealousy and mistrust. He does not believe himself good enough and therefore believes that others see him in the same way. We see this from the off when he states his dislike for Othello, claiming it is because “it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheet’s / He’s done my office” stating that he thinks Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia. As Iago is so self-doubting and unconfident it is a heavy blow when Othello is granted with the position of General. To him it confirms that he is not good enough as even someone of a lower position, due to his race, is being promoted above him. Furthermore, the rumours of Othello sleeping with Emilia make it even worse. It is one thing that Othello has taken what Iago considers as his role but another that he has also taken his wife. It certifies that Iago is not enough for Emilia, making him doubt himself even more. In addition, having one character, Othello, take everything from him creates an intimidating rival who holds a lot of power over Iago. This is why Iago hates Othello so much and everything he does is not just to become more powerful, but also to prove himself, to himself. Another time we see the insecure Iago is when he is seemingly deceiving Othello warning him, “Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on”, however, this could also be a reference to himself.

Related Documents

Related Topics