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

Iago In Othello - Critical Analysis.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Iago In Othello - Critical Analysis Shakespeare's Iago is one of Shakespeare's most complex villains. At first glance Iago's character seems to be pure evil. However, such a villain would distract from the impact of the play and would be trite. Shakespeare to add depth to his villain makes him amoral, as opposed to the typical immoral villain. Iago's entire scheme begins when the "ignorant, ill-suited" Cassio is given the position he desired. Iago is consumed with envy and plots to steal the position he feels he most justly deserves. Iago deceives, steals, and kills to gain that position. However, it is not that Iago pushes aside his conscience to commit these acts, but that he lacks conscience to begin with. Iago's amorality can be seen throughout the play and is demonstrated by his actions. For someone to constantly lie and deceive one's wife and friends, one must be extremely evil or, in the case of Iago, amoral. In every scene in which Iago speaks one can point out his deceptive manner. Iago tricks Othello into believing that his own wife is having an affair, without any concrete proof. Othello is so caught up in Iago's lies that he refuses to believe Desdemona when she denies the whole thing. ...read more.

Middle

Coleridge's phrase is often taken to mean that Iago has no real motive and does evil only because he is evil. This is not far from what Coleridge meant, but he almost certainly wasn't using the word "motive" in the same way as it's now used. We use it to mean "an emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action" ("Motive"). This definition equates "motive" and "impulse"; Coleridge, however, thought the two quite different. He makes this distinction in an entry he wrote for Omniana, a collection of sayings assembled by his friend Robert Southey and published in 1812. Here is what Coleridge wrote: It is a matter of infinite difficulty, but fortunately of comparative indifference, to determine what a man's motive may have been for this or that particular action. Rather seek to learn what his objects in general are! -- What does he habitually wish? habitually pursue? -- and thence deduce his impulses, which are commonly the true efficient causes of men's conduct; and without which the motive itself would not have become a motive. Thus Coleridge asserts that Iago's motives were spawned from his, keen sense of his intellectual superiority and his love of exerting power. ...read more.

Conclusion

A "guinea-hen" is a showy bird with fine feathers or in our sense a 'cunning female'. However, after Roderigo has left, Iago tells us that Roderigo is not entitled to any self-respect, "For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane, / If I would time expend with such a snipe. / But for my sport and profit" (1.3.384-386). A snipe is a bird notorious for its flightiness and its tendency to run right into traps. Clearly, Iago considers himself vastly superior to Roderigo. Enlivened by such other significant topics as contemporary racism, the uses of verbal and psychological poison, the changing roles of women, the lust for revenge, images of foreignness, the tempest on sea and in Othello's mind, the isolation of an island universe, the reversion to brutish behavior, and the ironic importance of the handkerchief, Shakespeare's play takes us on a geographic and psychological journey into the wilderness of the human heart. If we truly give ourselves over to the mystical experience of theatre, we can become one with Othello-navigating through the landscape of the play, alternately seduced by good and evil-and thereby change the world we live in as it inevitably changes us. ...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. Iago himself offers many explanations for his behaviour during the play, none of them ...

    At the outset of the play when Iago is informing Brabantio of Desdemona's marriage to Othello he says: 'Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise! Awake the snorting citizens with the bell, Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you Arise I say!'

  2. Coleridge famously describes the analysis of Iago as "the motive hunting of a motiveless ...

    These are the very things that cause him great pain and he hates the fact that he is surrounded by the very thing that he sees no point in, in the shape of the newly-weds Othello and Desdemona, who he views as contemptible fools whom, he believes, he can manipulate for his own means.

  1. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    From this reference we are able to immediately understand Iago's true feelings and motives for Othello. The audience at this point know nothing of Othello that is gained by their own opinion, instead we are lead to believe from Iago's race related description that Othello is a threatening and evil

  2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge believes the character of Iago reveals 'the motive hunting of motiveless ...

    Iago makes his actions of revenge toward Othello almost immediately by informing Brabantio "an old black ram (Othello)

  1. Othello extract Analysis (3.3.435-476)

    In this extract, parallels may be drawn to Shakespeare's first tragedy Titus Andronicus. Like where Titus Andronicus plans his revenge on the Goth Queen Tamora to be like a ritual through serving her a pie made of her murdered sons, Othello's vow for revenge in this passage is ritualistic.

  2. Othello – Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

    It is worth noting a quote by A.C. Bradley, which refers to motivating factors: "A boy torments a frog, not from a love of evil of pleasure of pain but because the pain is the unmistakable proof of his superiority and it is so with Iago".

  1. "The motive-hunting of a motiveless malignity" was Coleridge's comment on the Iago soliloquies. Evaluate ...

    the Moor" in the beginning of his first soliloquy. Thus, any other motives mentioned by Iago later (he introduces elements of class-hatred, race-hatred and sexual suspicion) would be no more than embroidery of his main purpose. And indeed it is this theory of professional revenge that is endorsed by the critic Kenneth McLeish.

  2. Explore how Shakespeare Conveys the Charcter of Iago

    The soliloquy I am going to concentrate on is in Act 2 Scene 3. The soliloquy comes directly after Cassio has got fired for fighting with Rodrigo, which was all a part of Iago's plan. Iago starts by questioning how he could be called a villain but it is plainly

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