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Iago - character study.

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Rahim Rahemtulla Iago Iago is the villainous character of 'Othello' and it is his behaviour that ultimately leads to the downfall of Othello himself, the tragic hero. Iago is duplicitous; to all the characters he is a source of friendship, honesty and knowledge, but in soliloquis he reveals his real self to the audience. It becomes apparent that his machinations are fuelled by anger and a desire for revenge, and he carries them out with an aura of self-belief and resoluteness. What makes Iago so different from the others is that he is calculating; while Othello operates and hindsight and naivety, Iago is much more perceptive and uses foresight. Although on the exterior Iago projects an image of practicality, rationality and self-confidence, it emerges that his behaviour stems from distraught emotions and feelings of inferiority. Iago's thoughts and attitudes are clear from the beginning of the play, and they are what drive him on into bringing down Othello. He calls virtue 'a fig' and tries to persuade Roderigo that there is little point in being moral. His first word of the play, in Act I Scene I, of 'SBlood' is an indication of the kind of man Iago is. This violent swear is fitting for the rough soldier, however it veils the cunning and cleverness which he possesses. ...read more.


There, he drops his defences and to a degree, the real Iago comes alive. They break to Brabantio the news of his daughter's secret marriage to Othello, and he is enraged, as Iago knew he would be. However, using forethought and perception that Iago seems to be the only character in the play to be blessed with he departs conspicuously early in order to go to Othello and warn him that Brabantio is after him, and so keep intact the alternate part of his character, the 'Honest Iago.' In this, like so many of Iago's other ploys he has initiated the action because of his twisted deep hatred of the Moor and own self-serving nature, but it is Roderigo, who Iago has exploited, who delivers. In addition to Iago's exploits in Venice, he too drives the action once everyone arrives in Cyprus. Not surprisingly, the success of his plan hinges upon the ability of Roderigo, whom Iago has convinced that if the Moor is eliminated, he will have another chance with Desdemona, who Roderigo is totally in love with. Roderigo however is not the only one who has allowed themselves to be manipulated by Iago's eloquence. Cassio too, falls under his spell when he is convinced to have just one more drink. Iago's ability to persuade and cajole in his subtle, general, almost casual way is one of his most important traits, which he uses to devastating effect on Othello, and leads him in to believing Desdemona is having an affair. ...read more.


He demonstrates his ability to manipulate and toy with people on two important occasions; the first is when he convinces Roderigo to aid him to bring about the downfall of Othello, and the second is later in the play, at Act 3 Scene 3, when he insinuates to Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. It is Iago's language that shapes the play and drives the plot of the novel, as he is involved with every strand of it. He has a dominating presence and uses his eloquence to possess influence over every character, from the lowest citizen, to the highest-ranking official. In conclusion, over the first three acts of the play Iago's character is firmly established and his purpose and motives exposed to the audience. Whilst he keeps up a fa´┐Żade of honesty and trustworthiness in public, in private he confesses to being immoral and self-serving. He is unique in that he is able to befriend all, and use a blend of emotion and rational calculation to achieve his goals, and simultaneously ruin others lives and careers. He does this without remorse and is propelled seemingly by his own unwavering self-belief, however if also becomes apparent that he is constantly at battle with his own feelings of inferiority, which he smothers by bringing down the lives of others and making them suffer, in the same way that he feels he has had to. ...read more.

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