'Iago the Chameleon' in Shakespeare's 'Othello'

Essay by slim_shady_1College, UndergraduateA-, July 2003

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Iago the Chameleon - A Snapshot to the End of Act 2

In the Shakespearean tragedy Othello, Iago is an important and dominant character.

Iago is portrayed to be a chameleon because of his very changeable nature and because he wants to take revenge from Othello for choosing Michael Cassio as lieutenant over him. Iago has no conscience. He is an angry man and is happy to take down everyone around him to get his revenge. Roderigo, a Venetian gentleman, with higher standards and morals than Iago, gets played into doing his deeds. Roderigo is an obsequious and sycophantic type of a person. He has a lot of money and is very gullible to such a slippery and devious mastermind such as Iago.

Iago, as said earlier, wants revenge from Othello for his choice of a Florentine for his lieutenant. We see that Iago starts devising his plan in Act 1, Scene 3 in a soliloquy just before Act 3.

He quotes -

"I hate the Moor,

And it is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets

H'as done my office. I know not if't be true,

But I, for mere suspicion in that kind,

Will do, as if for surety."

Iago states here that he suspects Othello may have slept with his wife. He is not sure of this and admits that there is no evidence for this, but declares that surety is not necessary. Iago is not so much concerned with his wife being unfaithful, but that he cannot stand the thought that it may have been with Othello.

"He holds me well;

The better shall my purpose work on him."

This shows how conniving Iago is. He will use the fact that Othello trusts him to get his revenge.

"Cassio's a proper man. Let...