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Analyse Iago's Motives and Language in Acts I and II

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Analyse Iago's Motives and Language in Acts I and II Iago is undoubtedly a cold hearted and merciless villain, who does not care about the amount of emotional destruction he causes to anyone, in Othello. He often uses crude language, and cunningly manages to adapt a suitable tone and style to suit any situation. However his motives for the treacherous breakdown of Othello and Desdemona's marriage and love for each other, which he induces, are not strictly clear. Possible motives for Iago's behaviour are perhaps jealousy or revenge. Many critics, however, believe there is perhaps a much more sinister motive, that being that he is motivated by the devil as he is a naturally evil person with no real reasons for his actions. An obvious motive for much of Iago's behaviour and hatred for people is jealousy. In Act I scene1 Iago speaks of his disgust that Cassio has become Othello's lieutenant, and not him. ...read more.


This could suggest he is bitterly jealous of 'the black' Othello being in charge of him, which could therefore be a motive to why he plots the downfall of him later. Iago may be jealous of Othello for being a higher rank than him, but also for being married to the beautiful Desdemona, who many critics believe Iago secretly loves. He may simply be jealous that an attractive and respectable white young lady would go near a black man by choice. Iago may not be jealous of Othello however, he may just thoroughly hate him through his racism, especially when he secretly marries Desdemona. Iago refers to Othello as 'the devil' as in some traditions the devil was depicted as black, to suggest that Othello has cast some sort of spell over Desdemona using black magic. Therefore Iago could plot Othello's downfall out of love for Desdemona, or wanting to get rid of Othello the 'devil'. ...read more.


Iago seems to revel in waking Brabantio in the most frightful way possible, when he says to Roderigo "Do, with like timorous accent and dire yell". Iago also stirs up trouble between Othello and Brabantio when he tells Othello of the "such scurvy and provoking terms against your honour" which Brabantio spoke, conveniently missing out the scurvy and derogative terms Iago used. Later, in Act 2 scene 3, Iago revels in tempting Cassio into drinking more alcohol which leads to Cassio getting violent and starting a fight with Roderigo. Iago knows this will cause Othello to look down on Cassio and even sack him, which he does. Iago manages to stir trouble for Cassio that bit further by acting the loyal companion to all when he is questioned by Othello; he says, "I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth/ Than it should do offence to Michael Cassio. /Yet I persuade myself, to speak the truth". Other critics, for instance Lylton Stranchy, Coleridge and William Hazlitt, believe the only motive which drive Iago is his natural evilness. ...read more.

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