• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

I am not what I am. Explore Shakespeare(TM)s presentation of Iago

Extracts from this document...


"I am not what I am." Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Iago Iago is a truly sophisticated and a compelling villain. He is a Machiavelli much like Shakespeare's Richard the third and through a thorough diagnosis of his character it would seem that Iago is inherently evil. Iago is a classic 'Jekyll and Hyde' character, a role which he plays well, a so-called "honest" man by many characters in the play but in reality his characterisation is that of the "devil". From the moment he utters his first words on stage it is evident to the audience that Iago is a duplicitous, manipulative yet intelligent character who acts as the catalyst for most of the tragic events in the play. Iago is a character consumed with jealously, loathing and yet his tact is presented in a decidedly and socially acceptable fashion. Iago displays a great talent for manipulation and deceit. He can very easily manipulate the desires and insecurities of those around him, thus making him both a powerful and compelling figure. Shakespeare places him in a position of extreme power, Iago is the one that all of the characters trust and confide in and he uses this to his advantage. It is very clear to an audience that Iago enjoys being the one in control and therefore doesn't need much to convince himself that what he is doing is right. ...read more.


As the play continues, Iago's utter contempt for both morality and honesty is revealed, his loyalty is to himself and himself alone. We see that Iago does not trust anyone, as he would depict this as a weakness or character flaw. However ironically as aforementioned many of thee characters for example Othello, both confide and trust Iago entirely. He himself states that he is, "an honest man" , such statements are inserted into conversations with Othello, " I am your own forever" and Roderidgo which influence this characters to believing what Iago says is the truth. Shakespeare presents Iago as a man who is strong in language. Iago's language is well structured and clever. He uses language as the best weapon in his arsenal to persuade and convince the characters in the play that he is acting justly in his actions, he is the one to trust and doing his will is the right thing to do. Iago's language continually changes throughout depending on to whom he is speaking. At different points in the play Iago slips between prose and verse, allowing him quickly change in order to suit different characters and purpose thus displaying his true conniving nature. This is evident in Iago's blunt prose when speaking with Roderigo conveying an immoral character. Also Iago's conversations with Roderigo in particular make elaborate use of vegetable metaphor. ...read more.


This in a way undermines his own success because he does not no where to stop, he can not see that his own destruction is coming. Throughout the play the imagery of a spider drawing his net to catch his prey is constantly used, "I shall ensnare them all". So just like a spider, Iago has set his web and nothing can stop him now. Although Iago is caught out in his ruthless actions as the play draws to a close, he still appears to hold authority over each character. As he has indeed succeeded in his original intent, to "enmesh them all" and cause Othello's destruction. However Iago refuses to justify his actions, "Demand me nothing; what you know, you know", which is indeed ironic and Iago remains some what inscrutable. Overall Shakespeare has presented a character of extreme wit and intelligence while also presenting a character capable of extreme deceit and manipulation. We as an audience can even find ourselves victims of his manipulation however through his language and wit we find ourselves on his side. Although there is lack of convincing motivation, his language and his ability to influence the characters and the audience, make it seem otherwise. Although an extremely heinous character, in my opinion Iago is admirable for his intelligence, quick improvisation and is in fact a genius in his actions. A perfect construction by Shakespeare, that shows us character flaws in ourselves and therefore a great deal of empathy can be build up with the character of Iago. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is Iago The Perfect Villain?

    5 star(s)

    Throughout this second soliloquy the possible motives of Iago progress from the rumour that Othello slept with Emilia, to the more disturbing and disconcerting motive of Iago desiring Othello's love before destroying him, the idea of Iago being thrust into a "Godly" position.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Iago is fascinating for his most terrible characteristic: his utter lack of convincing motivation ...

    4 star(s)

    to Iago in exchange for the vague but unfulfilled promises of success and love. The fact that Iago immediately paints himself as the villain also prepares us to be sympathetic to Othello despite Iago's descriptions of the Moor. Iago explains to Roderigo that he has no respect for Othello beyond

  1. Peer reviewed

    How does Shakespeare create an effective villain through his presentation of Iago in the ...

    3 star(s)

    Another thing is that you see why Iago has become evil, "To get his place, and to plume up my will." Furthermore, he enjoys being evil, "my sport and profit." He revels in his villainous role in the play and is unpredictable at times which makes him all the more threatening.

  2. Peer reviewed

    What is the significance of Iagos Soliloquies in Othello?

    3 star(s)

    But in soliloquy two, we get the impression Iago doesn't like Cassio by the language he uses. Iago then echoes another opinion of one of the characters. This time it is Othello. In both soliloquy one and two, Iago calls Othello "an ass" because he says he will be easily

  1. Peer reviewed

    What techniques does Shakespeare use to reveal Iago's villainy?

    3 star(s)

    Also that words Iago uses is important in the persuasion, such as "men should be what they seem" and "... I think Cassio's an honest man", the significance of these words is important because Iago is leaving no evidence and is making sure he is not saying anything that other

  2. What do you find interesting in Shakespeare s presentation of Iago?

    Even though he says later in the play to Roderigo that [he] hates the Moor it is the only time he seems to really allow anger to be shown towards Othello he later contradicts himself by flattering Othello. "Thee Moor is of a free and open nature."

  1. Explore Iago's ability to manipulate events in the play. Show how he alters events ...

    He does not understand love, therefore he is not willing to accept it. The starting point of Iago's evil plan is when he manages to force Cassio into fighting Roderigo. He uses his immense powers of persuasion to get Cassio drunk, then he tells Roderigo that Cassio is getting too close to Desdemona.

  2. "Desdemona's naivety and goodness are the cause of her own destruction."

    However Brabantio is not so happy of the ordeal, as he feels his daughter has betrayed him and is still young and na�ve and hence doesn't know the consequences, "Blushed at herself; and she in spite of nature, of years of country, credit, everything, to fall in love with what she feared to look on."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work