Machiavellian Villainss In Shakespeare's Othello

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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 …show more content…
Furthermore, Iago is able to convince Othello that he is his best friend while fantasizing about his downfall. In 2.1.308-312, Iago proclaims that he will, “…Make the Moor thank me, love me and reward me. For making him egregiously an ass and practising upon his peace and quiet even to madness. Is here, but yet confused: Knavery 's plain face is never seen till used.” Iago’s declaration exposes his intentions of pretending to befriend Othello. At the same time, he intends to prey upon his mind until he enters a jealous rage. According to Iago, once Othello is in this state, he will make a fool of himself and offend the people around him. Moreover, Iago is able to persuade Othello that he cares about him and anything he says that is hurtful is said out of love. He tells Othello, “Trust me, I fear it has. I hope you will consider what is spoke comes from my love. But I do see you’re moved. I am to pray you not to strain my speech to grosser issues nor to larger reach than to suspicion” (3.3. 215-220). In this passage, Iago is pretending to regret revealing his suspicions regarding Desdemona and Cassio’s relationship to Othello when he appears to be upset by the news. However, it is clear that he is intending to hurt Othello indirectly by making him think that Desdemona is cheating on him. Therefore, Iago is undoubtedly a master of deception and manipulation, which are …show more content…
As a result, Cassio’s reputation for being honest and noble would be damaged further. Moreover, Othello would be so jealous that it would destroy his relationship with Desdemona as he takes out his jealousy on her. Machiavellian villains also exploit their victim’s weaknesses in order to guarantee their downfall. Iago demonstrates this when he mutters, “As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad. And his unbookish jealousy must construe poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behaviour quite in the wrong” (4.1. 103-105). This excerpt implies that Othello will misinterpret Cassio’s smile to be Cassio bragging about sleeping with Desdemona. Evidently, Iago has successfully used Othello’s naivety and jealous tendencies against him. Additionally, Machiavellian villains often use psychological warfare to convince their victims to commit heinous crimes, and let them suffer the consequences of that act. The scene when Othello murders Desdemona is an example of this as he

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