Othello essay - "To what extent is Iago responsible for the tragedy?

Essay by Masta337High School, 11th grade June 2004

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The character of Iago in Shakespeare's "Othello" is possibly Shakespeare's darkest character, not because he kills other characters but for his almost supernatural ability to manipulate the other figures of the play. He manipulates the other characters into following their own agendas and all the while coming closer to his goal of bringing Othello to his downfall. However, Iago needs an ally if he is going to destroy Othello, this comes in the form of Othello's own inner demons. Othello foolishly places far too much trust in "honest Iago", which Iago then uses against him. Soliloquies are the major technique Shakespeare uses in order to show the audience the character's thoughts and motives. Iago's manipulations set the stage for Othello's demise however, it is ultimately Othello's inner demons that bring about his tragic end.

Iago's soliloquies give the reader an amazing insight into his mind. His first in Act 1 sc.

3. details his hatred for the Moor "I hate the Moor." As well as his continued control over Roderigo "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse." He suspects Othello of sleeping with his wife Emilia " 'twixt my sheets H'as done my office." Even though he is not completely sure, he will assume it because he hates Othello so much. He speaks of how Othello completely trusts him and how he will use this to his advantage. " He holds me well, " Iago's decides that he will "abuse Othello's ears" and tell him that his wife Desdemona is sleeping with his lieutenant Cassio. He knows that Othello is far too trusting and will be "tenderly led by the nose." This soliloquy is a fantastic technique that Shakespeare uses to show the audience Iago's motivations. These dark motivations are emphasized by the repetition of the line:...