Iago As A Manipulator

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Perhaps one of the most interesting and complex characters in the tragic play Othello by William Shakespeare is ?honest? Iago. Iago seems to be a ?motiveless malignity?, but the motivation for his actions is his quest for personal gain, need for power and revenge on Othello, instead of just being evil for evil?s sake. Iago?s villainous actions, which cause the demise of the main characters of the play, can be seen by examining his manipulation of Roderigo, Cassio and most importantly Othello.

Iago?s main interest is the destruction of Othello - not even Othello is safe from this villain. Iago seems to have reason for his actions, including the fact that Othello passed over Iago for promotion. Othello has chosen another man, Cassio, as his second in command, preferring him to Iago. This causes Iago to get angry because he thins that he is much better than Othello?s choice, Cassio.

Iago believes that Cassio does not have the experience that he does, and this begins the play, and Iago?s conspiracy against the other members of the play. This, as well as Iago?s made up lies of adultery, as well as his possible racism, cause Iago to clearly dislike the Moor and, shortly after, he begins to conspire against him. It is towards hell that Iago constantly looks for inspiration; Hell and the Devil are constantly in his mouth: Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the world?s light (1.3.397) and Divinity of hell! When devil?s will the blackest sins put on, they do suggest with heavenly shows as I do now... (2.3.339) and I do hate him as I do hell pains (1.1.155) These references to the Devil and to Hell show Iago?s ill-famed mind. The reader quickly learns Iago is much too smart to kill Othello...