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"Iago is an inhuman dramatic device who acts without motive and hence without credibility." What is your view of how Iago is presented in 'Othello'?

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Introduction

"Iago is an inhuman dramatic device who acts without motive and hence without credibility." What is your view of how Iago is presented in 'Othello'? Iago is a gripping and sophisticated villain, who seems to be inherently evil and revels in his ability to dissemble and destroy. Iago deceives, steals and kills to gain what he wants and does not seem to have any conscience when doing this. It would seem that Iago is a villain without motive and to some extent an "inhuman dramatic device." Iago appears to be trapped in a tangle of lies, deceit and betrayal, which are perceived in his enlightening soliloquies, his deceiving language, his never-ending strive for revenge and his readiness to manipulate the characters in 'Othello.' It would seem that Iago has many cogent motives, which could explain several of his actions, however it is my belief that he is slightly more ominous and simply is a villain we love to hate. Shakespeare presents the reader with three possible motives for Iago's behaviour, although there are many more, which we can speculate on. Iago has no consistent voice; in every situation, he adopts the tone and manner, which suits his purpose. ...read more.

Middle

Even Iago himself distinguishes his words as poison, and this is something that the audience could relate too. Every Shakespearean hero has a tragic flaw, which is brought about by circumstance. Othello's fatal flaw is his jealousy, which is intensified by Iago's evil and deceitfulness. Iago manages to turn a man who loves his wife dearly into a paranoid and cold-blooded murderer. However, it is vital for us, the reader, to see the extent of their opposite characteristics, to help us to redeem Othello's character at the end of the play, and to sympathise with him. Shakespeare's main role for Iago is to move the plot along and keep the audience's attention. At the end of nearly every act the plot is revealed through Iago's soliloquies and this creates a dramatic climax for the reader. Iago is successful because he can play a number of roles convincingly, and is able to adapt his tone and style to suit every occasion. I think this is clearly evident in Act IV when Iago is talking to Cassio about Bianca and he makes Othello misinterpret this, therefore creating a double entendre, "Do but encave yourself, And mark the fleers, the gibes, and notable scorns That dwell in every region of his face." ...read more.

Conclusion

Secondly, Iago gives Emilia a chance to prove herself worthy of his presence when he asks her to steal Desdemona's handkerchief. This may seem insignificant, but this handkerchief was a special gift from Othello and has sentimental meaning to it, "What handkerchief? Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona, That which so often you did bid me steal." Thirdly, Iago plays around the idea that Cassio has boasted of his affair with Desdemona while sleeping, "In sleep I heard him say, 'Sweet Desdemona, Let us be wary, let us hide our loves'; And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand, Cry 'O, sweet creature,' then kiss me hard," This is obviously a lie by Iago in order for Othello to believe that his wife has been unfaithful and to portray him as a friend in Othello's hour of need. Iago also manipulates Roderigo, whose only crime is falling in love with Desdemona, which he takes full advantage off. Iago tries to con Roderigo out of his money and plays him against the other characters, "Tush, never tell me, I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this." Roderigo soon discovers what Iago is doing, but this is soon forgotten when he is presented with some fanciful plot in order to capture Desdemona's heart. ...read more.

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