Just what is "evil" in Shakespeare's play? Iagos will for "revenge" on Cassio, who has been promoted to a higher army rank than himself? Is Iago evil? Essentially, Iago could be described as the central trouble-making, ill-willed character of the play; he leads a lot of the characters into a state of confusion, convincing them to think poorly and wrong of other figures in 'Othello' that are in fact innocent of their accused crimes.
But does this make him an "evil" individual? Let us begin by defining the word "evil". An evil person may be considered as somebody who condones bad or morally wrong activities that cause ruin, injury, misfortune or destruction.
From this definition, it becomes clear to us that Iago could very well be taken on as an evil character in Shakespeare's play. But where does this evil happen? It is important to note a significant symbolic difference that the playwright used to highlight good and bad in his play.
It would appear that before Othello is sent off to Cyprus on a mission the characters live more or less in harmony with each other; i.e. without any sexual jealousy, the main theme of the play. This implies that Venice is the good scenario, where everyone lives in peace, and Cyprus where the characters are constantly challenging each other led on of course, by Iago.
Perhaps it would be useful to highlight the timeline of Iago's evil activities throughout the play, in view of the general plot:
At the beginning, in Act I Scene 1 we see Iago and Roderigo talking about Roderigos "unrequited" love for Brabantio's daughter, Desdemona. Because of this, Iago persuades Roderigo to inform Brabantio that his daughter has married the moor of the play, Othello. In this...