Iago is a hero of Othello because Iago does not fit the classical idea of a tragic hero. Iago does not have flaws that lead to his downfall nor does Iago seem to develop any change in perspective throughout the play. The role Iago plays instead is much more similar to that of a protagonist from other works. Iago takes on a protagonist role in Othello because Iago is the driving force behind most of the conflict in Iago’s play.
Iago is also similar to the protagonist from other works, such as Shakespeare’s Richard III, because Iago drives his own play forward with Iago being at the forefront of every major conflict in Othello. I did not say that I said it; but now ’tis proven true, Confirmed, established (Othello 1. 1). These are Iago’s first words and although they seem like standard opening lines for any tragic hero, Iago will play no tragic hero throughout Othello. He does not suffer any fall nor does he develop any empathy towards fellow characters that Iago deems as wrongdoers.
Iago’s words and actions, on the other hand, prove Iago as a dramatic focal point for Othello. Iago is often at the forefront of action and conflict throughout Iago’s play with Iago being the main instigator in every major conflict in Othello. Iago begins Iago’s play by planting suspicion into Roderigo’s mind about Desdemona through his consistent use of language that Iago’s readers know to be filled with double entendres. “I know our country disposition well” (Othello 1. 1).
Here Iago uses language filled with innuendo when describing different countries because he knows Roderigo will take Iago’s words out of context. Iago knows that Roderigo will assume Iago to be talking about Iago’s own country, Venice when Iago is actually describing the gullibility of Iagos African wife. Iago continues this language filled with innuendo later in Iago’s play when Iago again uses language filled with double entendres when Iago says “I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs” (Othello 5. 1).
Iago is an example of the evil antagonist, who does whatever he pleases for his own gain. I argue that Iago should be viewed as a tragic hero rather than an evil antagonist because I believe Iago has good motives to act the way he does in Othello, even though his plans are ultimately unsuccessful. I argue that Iago possesses heroic qualities, despite being considered villainous by other characters or readers. I also argue that Iago’s plans are not necessarily all bad and that they have good intentions behind them.
Many critics agree that Iago is villainous and evil, but disagree on why Iago is such a terrible person. Instead of thinking of him as purely evil with no motivation, some critics see him as having good intentions, even if his plans ultimately fail. Iago knows that Othello has a high value in Venice and tries to question Othello’s honor when Iago suspects Desdemona is cheating on him (Sheehan). Iago believes Othello is undeserving of such a valuable woman like Desdemona and wishes to expose the fact that she will betray him because he does not possess the same noble background as Othello.
Iago’s actions cause innocent deaths for his own entertainment and benefit and I believe Iago should be viewed as a tragic hero rather than an evil antagonist because he feels wronged by Othello and seeks revenge, albeit through aggressive means. Auden says, “ Shakespeare shows us Iago plotting against Othello, but I doubt whether Iago’s long calculations are meant to be merely evil (48).”
Iago is Iago because Othello fails to see Iago for who Iago truly is. Iago’s character is not negative, but instead, Iago can be viewed as one of the most tragic characters in literary history. I will prove that Iago would have been happier had he followed his original plan and left Othello alone. I want to first outline Iago’s motive for destroying Othello by killing Cassio and taking over the army. Iago states this reason himself when he says, “Now I do love her too; Not out of absolute lust (Act 5 Scene 2 Lines 185-186).
This statement implies that Iago’s love of demanding Iago’s revenge. Iago’s motives for revenge on Othello is Iago’s motive for destroying Othelloslife and Iagos happiness. Iago states in Act 5 Scene 2, ” I am not what I am (Lines 182-184). ” This statement implies that Iago is not who Iagopretends to be. He also goes on to say,” You shall observe him and his love to Desdemona; ”(Act 5 Scene 2 Lines 214-215).
These statements lead the audience to believe that Iago’s ultimate goal was to destroy Othello by showing Othello how disloyal Desdemona was. If given the opportunity, he would have turned the army against Othello, and Iago would have taken over the army. Iago’s ultimate goal was to destroy Othello, but Iago’s plan did not turn out as Iago originally intended Iago’s evil plan was to successfully destroy Othello’s life without Iagoturning everyone in favor of Iago. Iago could have easily destroyed Othello if he had succeeded in his plan.
This suggests that Iago’s motive for destroying Othello was not to be seen as a hero at all because Iago would never want so much attention brought on him in such a public way when Iago can get what he wants just by destroying Othello alone. In conclusion, given the opportunity, Iago would have been happier had Iago left Othello alone because Iago’s motive for destroying Othello was to destroy Othello alone. Iago did not want the army to be turned against Iago, and Iago’s motive for destroying Othello is a second reason why Iago is a hero of the play.
Iago’s plan going as originally intended would have destroyed Othello’s life without Iagogaining any unwanted attention for himself. Iago’s motives were selfless, and this third factor defines Iago as the hero of Othello, where he has done something evil but with good intentions. I enjoy how it starts out identifying the protagonist from what the reader may expect from guidance on how to approach Shakespeare’s Othello, but I also feel there is not enough information written for this to be an effective persuasive essay.
I’m sure Iago would disagree with your claim that he is the protagonist in Othello. I think Iago’s main goal is to destroy Othello, and Iago does that through deception, so he comes across as an antagonist more than a protagonist. However, I think his goals could still be construed as selfless because I believe he does want Othello to know exactly what happened rather than having it remain hidden. I don’t buy what you are selling about Iago being heroic because he isn’t doing anything to make himself look good here.