Iago the Hero: Character Analysis of Iago from William Shakepeare's Othello

Essay by ICE_ManUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

download word file, 7 pages 3.7

Though Iago plays as a character of pure evil in Shakespeare's Othello, he actually is the hero in Othello. Usually when one speaks of heroes, one imagines a person who is selfless, noble, brave, courageous, infinite valor, everything in which Iago does not represent. He is not the same type of hero that King Arthur or Achilles represents. Iago is a different sort of hero in Othello. The type of hero Iago falls into is the Satanic/Miltonic/Byronic hero, made popular in the nineteenth century. In Milton's, Paradise Lost, Satan was a being to be admired for overcoming tremendous obstacles, using intelligence and bravery. The difference between the satanic hero and the traditional hero is that the satanic hero's ends are those of vengeance and evil, and his means are deceit. Satan, like Iago, is a very complex and interesting character in his actions and words. The Satanic hero is also the character, which people find them more related to.

God the Father was a perfect being, who could predict the future and control the present. People found that they are similar to Satan because of his flaws. Unlike God or the Angels, Satan had characteristics that people related with such as intelligence, self-respect, pride, reason, and gloom. Satan and Iago are the rebels in their own literary microcosms. Satan and Iago challenged conventional morality of absoluteness, a universe of black and white, and proposed his idea relativity, a world that consists of shades of gray. In their acts of manipulation and deceit, it is found that Iago and Satan were using the reason versus passion arguments in tempting their counterparts. There are also many characteristics, subtle and apparent, shared between Iago and the Satan from Milton's epic. Iago has both the pros and cons of the satanic hero, pride,