The Psychoanalytic Perspective in Relation to William Shakespeare's "Othello" - Iago

Essay by sLvRk155es April 2006

download word file, 5 pages 4.3

Downloaded 29 times

There are a number of perspectives that a critic can use to interpret a work of literature. One perspective, the psychological approach, deals with interpreting the text by using what is known about psychology. Some critics will try and understand the writers while, "still other critics employ methods of Freudian psychoanalysis to understand not only the writers themselves such as Shakespeare but the literary characters they create" (DiYanni, 635). In Shakespeare's play, "The Tragedy of Othello," a critic might want to use the psychoanalytic approach to help understand Iago. In order to do so, one might look at the characters and their wants, needs and desires. On top of this, an in-depth look at the character relationships will help apply the psychoanalysis method onto the characters. The main goal of this approach is figure out why the characters are the way they are, and to also make assumptions about why they acted the way they did according to psychology.

In "Othello", many characters take various actions that might strike the audience as disturbing or odd. Although the title of this play is "Othello", the main character might clearly be Iago, for he represents a kind of commonness by showing the extreme. He continually acts on other characters throughout the play. In Iago, the need of complete will-power, and the contradictions it betrays are more profound and thus more extreme than in any of the other characters. He continues to choose to take such stunning actions. He could be viewed as a "master-manipulator." He continuously tries to make people believe what he wants them to believe and will make up lies and twist stories for reasons that are quite frankly difficult to figure out. Using the Freudian concepts of the conscious and the unconscious it can be used...