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During the early part of the play, Iago outlines his reasons for seeking revenge on Othello and Cassio. Do you find his motives convincing or do you feel that he is driven by "motiveless malignity" as one critic has claimed?

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Introduction

During the early part of the play, Iago outlines his reasons for seeking revenge on Othello and Cassio. Do you find his motives convincing or do you feel that he is driven by "motiveless malignity" as one critic has claimed? Discuss these issues and consider other ways of regarding Iago. Iago's motives for seeking revenge on Othello and Cassio are, as he tells us, that he resents his having been overlooked for promotion to lieutenant, and he is jealous of the success of Michael Cassio who earned the promotion. Iago is confident of his own abilities: "I know my price, I am worth no worse a place." but he mocks ruthlessly the ability and integrity of others. ...read more.

Middle

Many attempts have been made to account for Iago's evil disposition, and he, himself adduces a number of motives for his destruction of Othello. The critic that claimed Iago is driven by motiveless malignity would only be correct if all the motives Iago claims to have are merely excuses for Throughout Iago's motives, seem to revolve around greed and envy. Viewing Iago's character as a moral type, Iago is evil and in contrast, Desdemona is good. Here Shakespeare is using dramatic characterisation. Iago's character is therefore a counterbalance to the moral values of Desdemona. Then introducing a theme of conflict between 'appearance' and 'reality' because Iago is plotting to 'blacken' Desdemona's goodness. ...read more.

Conclusion

He knows Othello will trust him and is likely to believe him. Again in Act 2, Scene 1 Iago reveals in a soliloquy "The Moor, howbeit that I endure him not, /Is of a constant, loving, noble nature," and from his motives we may assume that Iago's aim is to corrupt while Desdemona's 'goodness' will "make the net/That shall enmesh 'em all". In conclusion, Iago's success depends very much on the secrecy of his plans and his control of the plot. Iago's lies are plausible, and there is some truth in his evaluation of experience, but he fools everybody, and his lies are, nonetheless lies. He is defiantly evil but Shakespeare complicates the plot by giving him a series of motives. Iago's motives are partly convincing but ...read more.

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