Machiavellian villains are notorious for preying upon their victims until they accomplish their goal. In Othello, William Shakespeare uses Iago’s manipulation of Othello as an example of what Machiavellian villains do to their victims. Iago is a classic example of a Machiavellian villain, as he continues to manipulate Othello and turn him against his friends. Ultimately Iago is able to turn him against his wife, at which point Othello turns on himself by committing suicide. As presented in Othello, Machiavellian villains are a far more dangerous foe than someone who uses physical violence because they are able to destroy the lives of multiple people simultaneously and turn their victims against themselves. In the play, Iago is so devious in plotting Othello’s downfall that nobody suspects anything is amiss until the very end. Throughout the play, Iago manages to appear honest and trustworthy while plotting despicable acts of treachery. Iago reveals his scheme to the audience when he says:
I follow him to serve my turn upon him.
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly followed…Others there are
Who, trimmed in forms and visages of duty, Keep yet their hearts attending on themselves, And, throwing but shows of service on their lords,
Do well thrive by them. And when they have lined their coats, Do themselves homage. These fellows have some soul; And such a one do I profess myself…
In following him, I follow but myself…I am not what I am. (Shakespeare…