Essay by flygirl_therese March 2005

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Iago's crimes define pathological jealousy and a sheer desire for revenge. His acts are pre-meditated and have reasons. In various soliloquies, he reveals grudges that, while mostly false or overblown, present themselves as clear to Iago. Iago masters duplicity, even remarking himself "I am not what I am." (line 67) Many of his dark motives are probably concealed from the audience. In his few soliloquies, he presents definitive motives for his vengeful desires. His passions are so dark that they can only be understood by himself.

The first scene depicts Iago conversing with Roderigo. Iago's goals, grudges, and furthermore his motives are revealed. His plan is calculated and pre-meditated with Roderigo being a mere source of cash. Iago explains his disbelief on not being selected for lieutenant. He boasts of his military victories "at Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds/ Christened and heathen, must be beleed and calmed/ By debitor and creditor."

(lines 30- 32) Iago was denied a position of high valor and takes umbrage to the person responsible. That person is Othello. Othello chooses Michael Cassio, whom Iago denounces as "a Florentine." (line 21) Iago has been beaten by a Florentine with (as Iago thinks) less military ability than him. This deep wound commands Iago to revenge.

Iago cannot bear Othello's being a superior figure. Iago comments on Othello's going to war as "Another of his fathom they have none/ To lead their business." (lines 153-154) Iago insults Othello's skin color profusely behind his back. As the first part of his plan, Iago seeks to arouse Brabantio to the fact that the Moor has "robbed" (line 88) him of his daughter. Iago refers to Othello as an "old black ram/ tupping your white ewe." This tasteless reference pictures Othello's ugly black...