The Canterbury Tale And Iago In Shakespeare's Othello

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The Canterbury Tales and the tragedy Othello are two very well-known literary pieces written hundreds of years ago. The collection of stories in the Canterbury Tales and the tragedy Othello both have numerous characters that play an important role in each of the stories, but the main focus of this essay will be on the topic of manipulation, which narrows down the characters in focus to just two. The characters in focus will be the Pardoner from the The Canterbury Tales: Pardoner’s Tale and Iago from Othello. Comparing the two characters, many similarities and differences are found. We cannot deny that either of their ability to manipulate is lacking. As a result, choosing who the better manipulator is is a question that is not easily answered. …show more content…
Both of these characters have been argued to be great manipulators in the literary world. So, starting off with the Pardoner, he is a preacher; however, he preaches mainly based on one theme, which is, “Radix malorum est Cupiditas.” In other words, it means that greed is the root of all evil ("The Canterbury Tales” 710). The sermon that is preached by the Pardoner is all a part of his plan. He preaches about how greed is the root of all sin and as a result, the audience is left feeling guilty. Then, he transitions from the sermon to the presentation of his claimed “Holy” relics. He tells the audience that with offerings made to these relics, miracles or even salvation can be attained. The Pardoner pockets all of the offering and moves on to the next gullible audience. In his prologue, he tells his peers that the whole thing is a scam and that he only does this to get rich and to benefit himself ("The Canterbury Tales” 710-713). He admits that the very sin he preaches against is his greatest sin when he says “Though I myself am guilty of that sin, yet still I can make other folks begin to leave avarice and sorely repent” ("The Canterbury Tales” …show more content…
Right after this mess is cleared, the characters are sent to Cyprus to defend against the enemy, which were the Turks (Shakespeare & Pechter 15). The remainder of the story takes place in Cyprus. The change in location marks the beginning of Iago’s ultimate scheme to take down Othello. Iago begins to plant seeds of suspicion in Othello’s head that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him. Through progression, Iago utilizes the situations and people around him to his advantage regardless of what cruel deeds he must commit. According to Fred West, the author of “Iago the Psychopath,” Iago lacks remorse, hence the reason why he was able to do all the things he did such as killing Roderigo to lift any suspicions off of himself. Iago was a psychopath according to modern interpretation of his actions. Otherwise, he would not have been able to keep his cool in any of the sticky situations he got himself into. Basically, none of the killing and lying bothered his conscience (West). Iago progresses with his plan to ultimately make Othello destroy himself. Iago waters and gives sunlight to the seeds he planted in Othello’s mind and eventually, Othello caves and ends up killing his wife, Desdemona, for infidelity, although she was loyal to Othello the whole time. Once Othello finds out the truth and Iago is caught, Othello kills himself (Shakespeare & Pechter

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