Iago Essay Research Paper When Shakespeare attempted

Iago Essay, Research Paper When Shakespeare attempted to create the ultimate villain (and I must say he was stunningly successful), Iago was the result. This cunningly evil character always keeps the audience guessing at his

Iago Essay, Research Paper

When Shakespeare attempted to create the ultimate villain (and I must say he was stunningly

successful), Iago was the result. This cunningly evil character always keeps the audience guessing at his

true personality until he has the opportunity to plan in solitude or so gracefully manipulate an inferior

intellect that he can let his true colors shine while preserving his “image”. Such is the case in act I, scene

III, when he recites to Roderigo a beautifully worded speech revealing his true feelings about life, love, and

Othello. This near-soliloquy shows us some of the thinking behind Iago’s Machiavellian actions.

320Virtue! a fig! ‘Tis in ourselves are we thus or thus. Our

bodies are gardens, to which our wills are gardeners; so that

if we plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up

thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with

325many, either to have it sterile with idleness or manured with

industry, why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies

in our wills. If the balance of our lives had not one scale of

reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and

baseness of our natures would conduct us to the most

330preposterous conclusions. But we have reason to cool our

raging motions, our carnal stings, our umbitted lusts,

wherof I take this that you call love to be a sect or scion?It

is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of the will.

Come, be a man. Drown thyself? Drown cats and blind

335puppies. I profess me thy friend, and I confess me knit to

thy deserving with cables of perdurable toughness. I could

never better stead thee than now. Put money in thy purse.

Follow these wars; defeat thy favour with an usurped beard

I say, put money in thy purse. It cannot be that Desdemona

340should long continue her love unto the Moor,-Put money

in thy purse,-nor he his to her. It was a violent

commencement, and thou shalt see an answerable

sequestration. Put but money in thy purse. These Moors are

changeable in their wills. Fill thy purse with money. The

345food that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be to

him shortly acerb as the coloquintida. (She must change for

youth.)?

The main point behind the first section of the “soliloquy” in line 320 is that humans make their

destinies and rules (Virtue! a fig! ‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus ln. 320). Our friendly villain uses

a metaphor relating a garden to our lives, and gardeners to our independent wills (Our bodies are gardens,

to which our wills are gardeners ln 321). This view on life has many hidden insights into the character of

Iago.

First among these is that Iago believes that god is a fa?ade created by people with no heart. The quotes that

back this up are: ‘Tis in ourselves ln 320, corrigible authority of this lies in our wills ln 327 If the balance of

our lives ln 328, and love to be a sect or scion. ln. 333. We can tell by the connotations of the words Iago

uses that he does not consider god to be a motivating force in the lives of humans. Take, for instance, the

use of the words sect and balance; these words normally refer to religion, and god as a major force in the

balance of a person’s life, but Iago uses them to refer to our own decisions, playing down god’s importance.

Secondly, he believes that people who do not get ahead in life and live to get everything possible are

suckers. This conclusion is backed up by two major statements: sterile with idleness ln 323 and one gender

of herbs ln 322. The images these words call up in our minds are desolate and pitiful gardeners either being

just plain lazy, or trying to just scoot by. These quotes also show what a highly motivated person Iago is.

When Iago concludes his tirade about our bodies being gardens, we get an extreme look into his demented

psyche (May I say it is not a pretty sight). Iago’s view about love are not much better than his opinions

about other people’s “gardens”. As Iago begins to slander the wedding of Othello and Desdemona he has,

and uses, many opportunities to also slander against love, and the Moorish race. One such quote is

These Moors are changeable in their wills. Fill thy purse with money. The food that to him now is as

luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly acerb as the coloquintida. ln. 346. The word choice here, as

always in the case of Iago, carries a hidden double meaning. When he compares Desdemona to food, Iago

is insulting three different things: the reasons for Othello’s marriage, women in general (comparing them to

food, used only for a man’s pleasure), and the entire Moorish race, saying that they are barbarians, who do

not know how to treat women.

When looking at the character of Iago, always look for connotations, and hidden meanings in the

words he chooses (manured with industry ln 323), and dig deeper to acquire the true picture of Iago, and as

these quotes are only a few of the warped philosophies Iago has about life. There are no more shown in this

soliloquy, but one has wonder, what will happen in the next scene.