Psychopaths And Pychopaths In William Shakespeare's Othello

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Hannibal Lector once said that ‘“psychopaths are not crazy. They are fully aware of what they do and the consequences of those actions,”’ and needless to say, he’s right. Psychopaths are far more complex than the media portrays them to be. To the untrained eye, they’re often undetectable; however, they do possess some common traits. Some of the core aspects include an excessive amount of charisma, a heightened sense of self-worth, an innate ability to manipulate others, pathological lying, lack of emotion, and lack of empathy. In Othello by William Shakespeare, the story of Iago is told. Driven by his hatred of his lieutenant, Othello, he works tirelessly to overthrow his superiors. This tale soon takes a grim turn and five people are left …show more content…
A sociopath is different from a psychopath in the sense that they have the ability to form bonds with others. Their lack of empathy and guilt is much less severe than a psychopath’s as well. Many would bring up the fact that Iago is married to Emilia, and that he only killed off those who were immediate threats towards him. While this is a valid claim at first glance, it is rendered invalid by the words and actions of Iago himself. Iago’s lack of remorse in the slaughter and deception of those who held him close are very clear examples of Iago’s psychopathic personality. Another example is the manner in which he displays his emotional facade: he remains civil and charming only towards those that benefit him. In Act Two Iago takes the liberty of libelling Emilia’s name in front of Desdemona, claiming that she is a “[player] in [her] housewifery, and [a housewife] in bed,” and if she “she [gave Cassio] so much of her lips / As of her tongue she oft bestows on [himself] / [Cassio would] have enough,” (Shakespeare 2.1.100-120). It is apparent that Iago does not truly care for Emilia; thus, he has no need to uphold his charming facade around her. Iago’s bond with Emilia is built purely out of lust and obligation, as evidenced by his forthrightness in his slander. His incentives for the disposal of Roderigo and Cassio is yet another relevant piece of evidence in Iago’s psychopathic nature. He deceives the two into …show more content…
He has a multitude of other defining traits, but this is the most damning piece of evidence in the play. It is apparent that Iago lacks the ability to feel remorse, and it is particularly evident in Acts IV and V. Iago, ever a stranger to the truth, tells Othello of Cassio and Desdemona’s affair. Othello falls to the ground in an epileptic fit spurred on by dismay, and the phrase “Work on, my medicine, work,” echoes through the halls, (4.1.44). Unsurprisingly, Iago is the possessor of this phrase. He is elated that he has caused Othello so much distress; evidently. Iago feels no remorse for such an act. Many would feel horrified if they were to commit such a despicable deed; however, he lacks any sort of contrition. Nevertheless, many believe that Iago’s final line “from this time forth I will never speak word,” seems to express remorse at his actions; however, further analysis makes it apparent that this line was uttered as a last attempt at torment,(5.2.302). He gains satisfaction from knowing that those involved in his plan will never know his true motives. These people will forever remain ensnared and perhaps even dependant on him. He is the only one left alive who can tell the entirety of the story. His final words are akin to that of a power play, of torment. He holds no remorse in his heart for the destruction he has wrought. This coldness is one of the most prevalent pieces

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