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Evaluate Different Possible Interpretations Of Iago's Part In Act 2. Othello

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EVALUATE DIFFERENT POSSIBLE INTERPRETATIONS OF IAGO'S PART IN ACT 2. There have been many different interpretations of Iago, but various versions of Act Two show the contrasting sides of his character. There are similarities in the portrayal of Iago throughout these adaptations, which are seen just as clearly in the feature film versions as in our class interpretations of Act Two. There are clear parallels between our class adaptations, where one interpretation shows Iago as passionate and extreme, whereas the other shows him as evil and egocentric. One example of this is in lines 163-171 of Act 2 Scene 1, where Iago is planning his revenge on Cassio and Othello. "With as little a web as this I will ensnare as great a fly as Cassio." One understanding of the speech is that Iago is the typical "evil villain", clearly showing his resentment and bitterness and hinting towards his scheming and wicked temperament. This relates to what Germaine Greer said in 1986 about the play and Iago's character. Her opinion is that Iago gives the audience an "understanding ... ...read more.


However, Branagh shows Iago as evil, scheming and devious throughout the soliloquy. He begins the speech as if attempting to convince the audience that he is innocent, but suddenly turns intensely evil, hateful and wanting revenge. Emphasising his points, he leans slightly into the camera when he says "Divinity of hell", as if towards the audience, showing his sense of superiority whilst intimidating us. He then goes on to accentuate this point and his immorality, as he compares himself to the Devil. "When devils will the blackest sins put on, They do suggest at first with heavenly shows, As I do now." Said with confidence and cunning, the audience is convinced Iago is evil and entirely sure of his plans and what he is doing. This point is further exaggerated when he rubs pitch into his hands and then "covers" the audience with it by covering the camera with his pitch-covered hands. As the pitch symbolises darkness and evil, we see an exceptionally apparent demonstration of his evil deceptive character. This scene also agrees with Greer's interpretation, that Iago is "an objective correlative of the mindless inventiveness of racist aggression". ...read more.


Here, Branagh made use of physical images by using his hands to metaphorically create the net. Germaine Greer sees the play as a demonstration of "the struggle of good and evil" and how Shakespeare's portrayal of Iago leaves the audience having new perceptions of "the nature of evil". She grasps the contrast between Aristotelian views, "defective, absurd and inconsistent", and Christian views, the "dynamic presence of evil as an active force", and shows how they perfectly describe Iago's character. She also notices how Shakespeare has risen against the contemporary views of the ubiquity of Satan, and shown Iago as "an objective correlation of the mindless inventiveness of racist aggression". Therefore, although there have been countless interpretations of Shakespeare's Iago, it seems clear that he is obviously and intentionally evil, two-faced and devious, showing Shakespeare's defiant views on evil and elucidating the fact that there are many people in the world who share Iago's egocentric, racist and selfish views on life. As Germaine Greer said in 1986, "Iago is still alive and kicking and filling migrants' letterboxes with excrement." Charlotte Greene 12A ...read more.

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