Similarities Between Henry Higgins And Othello

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Morally ambiguous characters are very common. From the classic works of literature, such as Shakespeare’s Othello, to modern characters, such as Marvel superheroes, morally ambiguous characters are used by writers to make a point and to spark an idea in the minds of their audience. Two examples of these types of characters are Iago from Othello and Henry Higgins from Pygmalion. Both characters played pivotal roles in their perspective plays. Despite being static characters, both played important roles in driving forward the events and developing the theme of the play. There are, however, both similarities and differences between the two. Iago presents his ambiguity somewhat differently than Henry Higgins.
Iago is a perfect example of a traditional
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He cannot even defend the motives he had offered before. In the end, Iago fails to justify and explain his actions and motives and becomes the symbol of evil for the audience. Iago is a true Shakespearean villain and perhaps the most sinister of them all. Much like Iago, Henry Higgins is also admired for his charm and cleverness. He is utterly rude and disrespectful, and seems to have none of the manners he preaches to everyone. His rudeness, especially his misogyny and disrespect towards Eliza, is never confronted by anyone, much like Iago’s lies; he refers to Eliza as a “squashed cabbage leaf” (Shaw, Act I) and constantly mocks Eliza’s expression of “Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo” (Shaw, Act I, Act V). This is perhaps because, despite his rudeness being genuine, it comes across as comical. Even with his obvious lack of manners, he uses his language in a way that gives him a certain charm; a captivating charm to both the characters in the play and the audience. The only person capable of standing up and pointing out the hypocrisy in Higgins’ behavior is his mother, who refuses to even have him in her house when she’s having company over. Even when Mrs. Pearce tells him that “[he] can’t walk over everybody like this” (Shaw, Act II), Higgins ignored her comments and continues with his behavior. While Higg(ins’ intentions and reasons for teaching Eliza are never fully explained, the audience knows that his intentions are not out …show more content…
Iago hides his intention behind his language, loyalty, and humor. He uses vague and unclear language, filled with flattery and lies to manipulate Othello into doing what he desires. Iago subtly hints to his true evil motive of chaos through his soliloquies and dialogue with the other characters. He confesses to Roderigo that “in following [Othello], [he] [follows] but [himself]” (I.I.60); that he merely pretends to be loyal in order to take advantage of Othello’s weakness. Despite admitting such thing, Roderigo continues to put his trust in him. He covers up his crudeness towards women by using humor. He is so crude that the audience cannot help thinking that he has to be joking. In the end, it is his demonic nature and his need to create chaos that labels him as a morally ambiguous character. He supresses any emotion he may have and shows no sign of having a conscience. Yet, he easily makes emotional connections with other characters through his language, coercing them into believing that he is in fact on their side. He uses loyalty and the trust of others to his advantage. He only plays into the ego of other characters by openly admitting that his love for them; he reminds Othello that “[he] know[s] [Iago] love[s] [him]” (III.III.123). He never directly gives Othello an idea; he echoes the idea into Othello’s mind. He plants the seed using his vague and flattering language and allows for everything else to

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