Iago Character Analysis Essay

Iago is often considered to be the main character of William Shakespeare’s play. He was even originally performed as such by Richard Burbage, the first actor who played him on stage for the very first time. The mastermind behind evil deeds and plans, Iago makes us wonder why he does what he does throughout the play. Although Iago himself tells us that his motives lie in “ambition” (Shakespeare 549), there must surely be something more than just this in Othello, another play by Shakespeare. A thorough examination of Iago’s character is inevitable to discover the deeper reason behind his deeds.

By understanding Othello better, we can also understand Iago better and why he does what he does. Iago is one of the most interesting characters in the tragedy “Othello” by William Shakespeare; we constantly wonder why Othello trusts Iago and yet Othello never truly understands Iago. There must be something more to this character: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on” (Shakespeare Othello 3. 3. 170-172). It is obvious that Othello does not understand Iago, but Othello’s lack of understanding may not just be because he fails to recognize his feelings such as jealousy in others.

If Othello were able to see what was going on inside Iago instead of being so absorbed with himself and his new promotion for Cassio, Othello would most likely be able to understand Iago better. Othello is too self-involved, which makes it difficult for Othello to read Iago. Othello does not seem to be able to look beyond what he wants and does not want; instead, Othello’s feelings are very apparent in the lines like “O thou foul villain, where hast thou stowed my wife? ” (Shakespeare Othello 3. 3. 152). Othello seems more worried about his wife than anything else; this is why Othello fails to see that Iago has an ulterior motive.

Othello’s affection for Desdemona blinds him so much so that Othello cannot even think of any other types of motives that Iago could have. Othello is so obsessed with Othello’s feelings of love for Othello’s wife that he never even tries to understand why Iago might be acting the way he is or what type of motive Iago might have behind his actions. Othello only sees what Othello wants to see and Othello fails to recognize any danger in this. Othello trusts Iago too much without ever thinking there may be more to his character than just pure honesty: “I think it is my soul, that speaks to you” (Shakespeare Othello 1. . 323).

It may not necessarily be Othellos’ soul speaking through him, but Othello does not see Iago in any other light than that of a loyal friend. Othello does not even acknowledge that if there is one person Othello should be questioning it is Iago, the man Othello entrusted with Othello’s deepest and darkest secrets. Othello believes that Iago will never betray him and therefore Othello has no reason to assume otherwise about him; this shows just how little Othello knows of Iago.

Othello trusts him too much based on what little he knows about Iago: “Ha! I like not that” (Shakespeare Othello 3. 3. 72). Othellos’ lack of understanding of people in general and Othello’s lack of understanding of Iago in particular ultimately leads to Othellos’ undoing. Othello fails to see that Iago does not share Othello’s feelings and is obsessed with Othella as Othello once was with Desdemona: “Now, by heaven, My blood begins my safer guides to rule; And passion, having my best judgment collied, Assays to lead the way” (Shakespeare Othello 3. . 161-163).

It seems like Othello is only now beginning to recognize the danger he has been in for so long because finally, Othella himself realizes that at this point it may already be too late: “It is too late” Othello says to himself after Othella realizes that Othellas’ life may be already lost: “Yet O, for thee,/ Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey/ Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:/ Princes and lords it over the poor for a day:/ But in the night the poor possess it quite” (Shakespeare Othello 4. . 86-90). Othella’s blindness towards Iago has led Othello into believing that Othello cannot possibly lose at this point because Othello can always depend on Iago; however, Iago betrays Othello anyway even though Othello still thinks Iago is Othello’s friend: “O, Othello! ” (Shakespeare Othello 5. 2. 22).

Iago has Othello completely fooled and then Othella turns out to be the only one that suffers for it as Iago begins his revenge on Othello: “I pray you, in your letters,/ When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,/ Nor set down aught in malice; then must you speak/ Of one that loved not wisely but too well;/ Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought… Of such another” (Shakespeare Othello 5. 2. 29-37). Othello fails to take into account that Othello should be more suspicious of Othello than Othello is of Iago.

Othella trusts Othello too much even when there are indeed signs that something may be wrong. – William Shakespeare’s Othello William Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragedy in which the main character, Othello, falls victim to the deceit of his so-called friend and adviser Iago. Othella marries Desdemona, which displeases Iago because he wishes for Othellea to marry his daughter Emilia instead, although he says it is because he believes Othella isn’t good enough for her (Shakespeare Othello 1. . 316-317). Iago first plans Othellea’s downfall by manipulating Othellea’s ‘rival’ Othello into thinking that Othella is having an affair with another man, which Othellea denies on behalf of Othello (Shakespeare Othello 5. 2. 44-48).

However, it isn’t until Othella has been tricked into strangling Desdemona while she sleeps that Iago reveals his hand and tells Othellea what he has done to ruin Othellea’s good name (Shakespeare Othello 5. 2. 4-68). – Iago is a deceitful character who takes delight in deceiving others. Othello is Othella’s closest friend and Othello trusts him with Othello’s life. Iago illustrates his deceit by affecting the image of a trustworthy person, even going as far to show Othella how honest he can be in a soliloquy: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy:/ It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock/ The meat it feeds on” (Shakespeare Othello 3. 3. 169-172).

Leave a Comment