Iago is a 'moral pyromaniac.' Harold C. Goddard writes that Iago
consciously and unconsciously seeks to destroy the lives of others, especially
others with high moral standards (Goddard 76). However, Iago is more than
just a 'moral pyromaniac,' he is a moral pyromaniac whose fire is fueled by
pure hatred. He is a hungry powermonger whose appetite for destruction can
only be satisfied after he has chewed up and spat out the lives of others. Iago
lusts for power, but his sense of power is attained by manipulating and
annihilating others in a cruel and unusual way. Iago prepares and ignites his
victims and then watches, with an excitable evil in his eye, as his human
pyres go up in flames.
Iago undeniably has an unquenchable thirst for power and domination.
Critics such as M. R. Ridley believe that the ability to hurt is the most
convincing display of one's power (Ridley lxi).
Iago has a deep, inbred
desire to cause and view intolerable suffering. The power of Iago is
exercised when he prepares and then implements an evil plan designed to
inflict man with the most extreme amounts of anguish possible. Iago controls
the play, he brilliantly determines how each character shall act and react. He
is a pressing advocate of evil, a pernicious escort, steering good people
toward their own vulgar destruction.
Iago must first make careful preparations in order to make certain his fire
of human destruction will burn with fury and rage. He douses his victims
with a false sense of honesty and goodness. And, as do most skillful
pyromaniacs, Iago first prepares his most important target, Othello:
Though in the trade of war I have slain men, Yet do I hold it very
stuff o'th' conscience To do no contrived murder. I...