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When questioning the nature of the downfall of Iago in Shakespeare's "Othello," there are three primary ways to analyze the situation. First, it is possible to argue that Othello is the black slave in chains while Iago becomes the Southern gentleman

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Introduction

When questioning the nature of the downfall of Iago in Shakespeare's "Othello," there are three primary ways to analyze the situation. First, it is possible to argue that Othello is the black slave in chains while Iago becomes the Southern gentleman and cruel slave master. Second, Othello can be seen as the non-Christian foreign Other while Iago becomes the colonizing white man. And finally, it is possible to view Iago as Othello's conflicted, seething gay lover and view his downfall from this light. Othello can easily be seen as a black slave under the control of white slave master Iago. ...read more.

Middle

He takes a very superior tone to Othello, not unlike racist dialogue employed by Southern slave owners in relation to their black slaves. It is also possible to view Othello as the non-Christian foreign Other that the white imperialist Iago must conquer and civilize. Iago takes this view of Othello when he interferes with Othello's choices and even his frame of mind, all the while articulating it as if he is doing Othello a favour by bringing out his raw, wrathful, lusty, uncivilized side. This further contributes to Iago's sense of superiority. ...read more.

Conclusion

The one point in the story where he actually does appear to show interest in her is when Emilia produces Desdemona's handkerchief which Iago will use to convince Othello of her infidelity. When he sees the handkerchief, Iago displays playful affection for Emilia but it is clear that he is only so excited because he sees before him the downfall of his rival Othello. It can be read that Iago is painfully jealous of Othello because he represents Iago's latent homosexual (or even profound homosocial) desires that Iago cannot indulge in and that Othello cannot even see or comprehend. Because of this, Iago must destroy Othello, who represents his own homosexuality that he must keep hidden, and in doing so, Iago destroys himself. ...read more.

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