Othello 10 Essay, Research Paper
It has been said that Iago, despite his scheming behavior and complete manipulation of others, is seen by the audience as the most interesting and vibrant character in Othello. One reason for this is because the audience is never quite sure what to expect next. Because Iago is a great manipulator, he successfully keeps the audience in suspense. He is also very deceiving and cannot be trusted, unbeknownst to the other characters of the play.
One manner in which Iago keeps the audience in suspense is that he never reveals all of his plans for the other characters of the play. He informs them piece by piece by not divulging the entire truth. He only discloses what is necessary to maintain their interest and further the plot of the play. An example of such is “As for Iago, he is so courteous in his behavior and apparently so anxious to believe the best of his captain’s wife that there is no reason whatever for Othello to suspect him.”
This proves to the audience that he is a master of suspense. Another example is found within one of Iago’s soliloquies. He informs the audience that he will be using Roderigo to help ensnare the Moor in a trap, but does not reveal how.
Which thing to do
If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trace
For his quick hunting, stand the putting on
I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip
Abuse him to the Moor in the right garb.
(Shakespeare, II, i, 302-06)
These are but a few of the ways that Iago manages to keep the audience involved in the plot of his diabolical scheme.
Iago is also a very deceitful character. He will always tell the characters one of two things: exactly what they want to hear or the exact opposite, in order to make it easier for them to succumb to his constraint. Othello, for instance, is told that his wife has been unfaithful, which Iago knows will make him insane. Desdemona, on the other hand, is told not to worry about her husband, that it is simply “work” matters and that when it passes, all shall be well. An example of such can be found in the play Othello when we read “I pray you be content. Tis but his humor./The business of the state does him offense./”
(Shakespeare, IV, ii, 164-65)
Another is apparent during the same conversation when Iago tells Desdemona “Go in weep not. All things shall be well.”
(Shakespeare, IV, ii, 169)
By telling Desdemona that all shall be well is the equivalent of saying that the problems in her marriage have nothing to do with her. The reason that Iago knew that this would be successful is because he is fully aware of how naive Desdemona’s state of mind is towards her marriage. Iago is very deceitful and uses any and all information that he obtains to his advantage, which in turn becomes the disadvantage to all whom he seeks revenge upon.
Throughout the play, Iago adds life and exuberance to the other characters of the play. Without such a diabolical villain, the audience would find it dull and unentertaining. It is because Iago proves to be such an easy character to despise that he in turn , adds a certain charm and magnetism to the play. He is a character whom everybody loves to hate and this is why he has proved to be such an efficient and necessary addition to the tragedy known as Othello.