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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Iago is fascinating for his most terrible characteristic: his utter lack of convincing motivation for his actions. Iago's motivation is nothing more than jealously, self-absorption and hatred, yet his tact is presented in a decidedly and socially acceptable fashion, that is, until his true self is uncovered. In being so wrapped up in himself, Iago's vengeful attitude knows no bounds. His motivation becomes first known to us in the first scene of the play, in which he claims to be angry at Othello for having passed him over for the position of lieutenant. At the end of Act I, scene iii, Iago states that he thinks Othello may have slept with his wife, Emilia: "It is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets / He has done my office". However none of these claims seems to adequately explain Iago's most deep hatred of Othello, and Iago's lack of convincing motivation or his inability or unwillingness to express his true motivation-makes his actions all the more terrifying and sinister. He is willing to take revenge on anyone, Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Roderigo, even Emilia, at the slightest provocation and he enjoys damage that he causes. Iago's true power lays in his great talent for understanding and manipulating the desires and insecurities of those around him. ...read more.

Middle

However because of the dramatic irony Iago establishes, the audience is forced into a position of feeling intimately connected with Iago's villainy. In many ways, Iago is the driving force behind the plot; he inspires much of the action of the play. His self-conscious falseness is highly theatrical, manufactured in order to shock the audience. Iago is a classic two-faced villain, a type of character known in Shakespeare's time as a "Machiavel", a villain who lets nothing stand in his way in his quest for power. He is also reminiscent of the stock character of Vice from medieval morality plays, who also announces to the audience his diabolical schemes. As aforementioned Roderigo is certainly a pathetic character, evident by the fact that he does not even succeed in killing Cassio. Unwittingly, Roderigo causes Iago's plan to be disrupted for the first time in the play. Therefore, Iago is forced to bloody his own hands, also for the first time in the play. He displaying a talent for improvisation, Iago takes the burden of action into his own hands because he has no other choice. Neither Lodovico, Graziano, nor Cassio shows the slightest suspicion that Iago is somehow involved in the chaos. ...read more.

Conclusion

Characters in this play seem to be the product of certain inevitable, natural forces, which, if left alone, will grow wild. Iago understands these natural forces very well. According to his own metaphor he is, a good "gardener," both of himself and of others. Many of Iago's references concern poison, "The Moor already changes with my poison. / Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons..." Iago cultivates his "conceits" so that they become lethal poisons and then plants their seeds in the minds of others. The organic way in which Iago's plots consume the other characters and determine their behaviour makes his conniving, evil personality seem like a force of nature. That organic growth also indicates that the minds of the other characters are fertile ground for Iago's efforts. As well as plants and poison Iago also refers frequently to animals, mostly when describing Othello. Iago calls Othello a "Barbary horse," an "old black ram," and also tells Brabanzio that his daughter and Othello are "making the beast with two backs". Iago tells Othello to beware of jealousy, the "green-eyed monster which doth mock/ the meat it feeds on". The imagery of the monstrous and diabolical takes over where the imagery of animals can go no further, presenting the jealousy-crazed characters not simply as brutish, but as grotesque, deformed, and demonic. Iago is a master at manipulating language and imagery. ...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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Response to the question

This essay superbly responds to the question, given that it doesn't explicitly push much discussion. I liked how the essay explores Iago's apparent changing of motivations throughout. I would like to comment slightly on this task - many candidates at ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This essay superbly responds to the question, given that it doesn't explicitly push much discussion. I liked how the essay explores Iago's apparent changing of motivations throughout. I would like to comment slightly on this task - many candidates at GCSE level may see this question as an opportunity to retell or narrate Iago's character. Although it doesn't ask "To what extent" or "discuss" it is key to analyse and evaluate, and this essay has done so.

Level of analysis

The analysis in this essay is strong, although there are still places for improvement. I liked how quotes were embedded well, allowing a close analysis of language and imagery. The discussion of imagery is particularly strong, reflecting upon the choice of imagery to his manipulation. There is a constant awareness of an audience response, allowing a natural progression to evaluating the dramatic effect of Iago's qualities. I am big fan of any Shakespeare essay which shows understanding that it is a play! However, the weak point of this essay is that lack of focus on Shakespeare's construction. The essay is written as if Iago is real, talking about his choices to manipulate Othello. It is key at any level to show understanding that Shakespeare is constructing Iago and his actions to have a dramatic effect (or otherwise). Doing so would enable this essay to gain higher marks.

Quality of writing

This essay is structured well, having a clear introduction and conclusion. Each paragraphs adds a new point to the argument, and I particularly like how the first sentence is short and concise, offering a clear signpost to what will be elaborated upon. Having such clear signposts allows the essay to stay on focus throughout the paragraph. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are used to emphasise arguments and there are very few flaws in syntax.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by groat 17/02/2012

Read less
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. How Is Othello Viewed By Others And How Does He View Himself

    trait- 'my parts, my title, and my perfect soul shall manifest me rightly.' He is dazzlingly confident in almost all aspects of his life and especially when it comes to his military service- 'For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith...

  2. Who is responsible for Othello's downfall?

    If not stupidity, perhaps jealousy is his downfall? It is unbelievably easy to see that Othello loves his wife with all his heart, and then hates her with the same degree of passion when Iago's jealous thoughts are allowed to poison his brain.

  1. Directing a Othello- Symbolism of Final Scene

    This moment has to contrast with the following events. Othello is angry, understandable. He has just killed his wife for no reason, so the audience has to feel fear because it adds to the tension of the scene. The audience has to wonder: now that Othello final realizes his mistakes, what will he do now?

  2. Free essay

    How is the character of Iago presented in the opening scenes of the play?

    He states that he is "mere prattle, without practice" which suggests that Iago believes he isn't as great a soldier as he makes out to be.

  1. In what ways does Othello's position as an outsider fuelled by his insecurities bring ...

    ability, although the dramatic irony is clearly shown when Iago says, "I do hate him as I do hells pains" but when speaking to Othello in Act 4 Scene 4 he says. " You know I love you my lord."

  2. What do we learn of Othello's character through an Analysis of his language?

    For a brief moment or two the phrase, "too much of joy" takes away Othello speech before he addresses her goodness, "sweet powers!" to show how her love has granted him with a better nature for life. His love is even pictured as, "Olympus-high" the mountain of the Greek gods

  1. In Act III Scene III, what techniques and dramatic devices are used by Shakespeare ...

    So far Iago has undermined Othello ruthlessly by being racist, he has made Othello think that has something to be jealous about, also that Desdemona has been unfaithful. He reminds Othello that she lied to father about marrying him and could do it again "She did deceive her father, marrying

  2. Why does Iago destroy the other characters in the play?

    human race- who all succumb to their basic desires but he has reasoning and that he considers Roderigo as lowly for having fallen in love. We can also tell that Iago loves himself and feels he is above others when he refers to other characters in the play as animals-

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