Iago the Con from Othello

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1994

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Perhaps the most interesting and exotic character in the tragic play 'Othello,'

by William Shakespeare, is 'Honest' Iago. Through some carefully thought-out

words and actions, Iago is able to manipulate others to do things in a way that

benefits him and moves him closer toward his goals. He is the main driving

force in this play, pushing Othello and everyone else towards their tragic


Iago is not your ordinary villain. The role he plays is rather unique

and complex, far from what one might expect. Iago is smart. He is an expert

judge of people and their characters and uses this to his advantage. For

example, he knows Roderigo is in love with Desdemona and figures that he

would do anything to have her as his own. Iago says about Roderigo, 'Thus

do I ever make my fool my purse.' [Act I, Scene III, Line 355] By playing

on his hopes, Iago is able to swindle money and jewels from Roderigo, making

himself a substantial profit, while using Roderigo to forward his other

goals. He also thinks quick on his feet and is able to improvise whenever

something unexpected occurs. When Cassio takes hold of Desdemona's hand

before the arrival of the Moor Othello, Iago says, 'With as little a web

as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio.' [Act II, Scene I, Line 163]

His cunning and craftiness make him a truly dastardly villain indeed.

Being as smart as he is, Iago is quick to recognize the advantages of trust

and uses it as a tool to forward his purposes. Throughout the story he is

commonly known as, and commonly called, 'Honest Iago.' He even says of

himself, 'I am an honest man....' [Act II, Scene III, Line 245] Trust is...