, Research Paper
Character Analysis of Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello
In William Shakespeare’s “Othello”, the character Iago is, at least in my point of view, the main and most interesting character. Iago is in virtually every scene in the play, and has his hands in almost all doings within the play. Iago is truly one of the greatest villans in literature. Iago is viewed by all in the play, with the possible exception of his wife, as an honest and trust worthy man, which could not be farther from the truth. Iago plays all the characters in the play like puppets. He plays Cassio into a confession of his dealings with Bianca to make it look like he is speaking about Desdamona, and into planting the handkerchief onto Cassio without making himself look suspicious. Iago also plays Roderigo into giving him money and leaving the picture so Iago can do his work.
Possibly the best work Iago does is on his boss, Othello. Iago plays Othello perfectly. He plays on every man’s weakness, jealousy. Othello takes every word Iago says like it is truth, and whenever he does question Iago, Iago’s quick wits keep him uncovered by weaving all his lies together. Iago was capable of bringing Othello into killing his own wife without ever have Othello question his wife or anyone else. In Othello’s mind, Iago was so trust worthy that anyone elses word would not be truth, and all of Othello’s faith was placed in Iago. Iago calls himself trust worthy in Act II Scene I Line 196, Iago is quoted saying “As honest as I am”, which everyone knows is far from true, but Iago is still capable of bringing Othello. Othello believes in the honesty of Iago untill the bitter end of the play. Othello and Iago’s wife, Emilia, argue in Act III Scene II Lines 142-161. Othello says:
” Ask thy husband else. O, I were damned beneath all depths in hell but that I did proceed upon just grounds to this extremity.”
It is ironic that Othello damns himself here, because a few lines later, Emilia blames Iago for Desdamonas death by saying:
“If he say so[Desdamona cheating on Othello] may his pernicious soul rot half a grain a day! He lies to th’ heart.”
Emilia blames Iago for all that has been done to Othello and Desdamona. Emilia is the only one who knows that Iago is to blame. When she reveals Iago to Othello, Othello sends for Iago along with Cassio, Gratiano, Montano, and Lodovico. When Iago learns he has been discovered, he turns to real cowardness and stabs his own wife, commiting the same sin as Othello. Othello does not kill Iago, he says that Iago is the devil, and the devil cannot be killed. One must wonder why Othello does not kill Iago in a fit of rage, but he must be commended for his action. Othello then kills himself and proceeds to die next to Desdamona and Emilia. Iago is left as a prisoner of Cassio, to live with what he did. This story is the story not of Othello, but rather the story of Iago and how he plays the other characters, which is the reason Iago is one of literatures greatest villans.