Iago's Motivation

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Iago's Motivation

Iago is a 'moral pyromaniac.' Harold C. Goddard writes that Iago

consciously and unconsciously seeks to destroy the lives of others, especially

others with high moral standards (Goddard 76). However, Iago is more than

just a 'moral pyromaniac,' he is a moral pyromaniac whose fire is fueled by

pure hatred. He is a hungry powermonger whose appetite for destruction can

only be satisfied after he has chewed up and spat out the lives of others. Iago

lusts for power, but his sense of power is attained by manipulating and

annihilating others in a cruel and unusual way. Iago prepares and ignites his

victims and then watches, with an excitable evil in his eye, as his human

pyres go up in flames.

Iago undeniably has an unquenchable thirst for power and domination.

Critics such as M. R. Ridley believe that the ability to hurt is the most

convincing display of one's power (Ridley lxi).

Iago has a deep, inbred

desire to cause and view intolerable suffering. The power of Iago is

exercised when he prepares and then implements an evil plan designed to

inflict man with the most extreme amounts of anguish possible. Iago controls

the play, he brilliantly determines how each character shall act and react. He

is a pressing advocate of evil, a pernicious escort, steering good people

toward their own vulgar destruction.

Iago must first make careful preparations in order to make certain his fire

of human destruction will burn with fury and rage. He douses his victims

with a false sense of honesty and goodness. And, as do most skillful

pyromaniacs, Iago first prepares his most important target, Othello:

Though in the trade of war I have slain men, Yet do I hold it very

stuff o'th' conscience To do no contrived murder. I...