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

"Iago is no doubt a villain, but he is a very human villain and very far from motiveless" Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


English "Crossover" Coursework "Iago is no doubt a villain, but he is a very human villain and very far from motiveless" Discuss. According to The Oxford Dictionary, a villain is: " ...A person guilty or capable of great wickedness, an unprincipled or depraved person..." Iago definitely fits into this category, as throughout the play he shows great evilness and certainly is the most evil and manipulating character in the play, maybe even in all of Shakespeare's works. Throughout time there have been varying degrees of villainy, and in almost all plays, films and fiction books you will almost certainly find someone who is trying to influence the plot, or is doing something to significantly hurt people either physically or mentally. In most stories today you will not find anyone who is trying to rule everyone in the way that Iago did. Most characters only manipulate one or two people, but no, Iago goes and destabilises virtually everyone in the play. In modern times you have got the likes of Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter, who isn't very scheming but is very murderous, evil and violent, and Dr. Evil in Austin Powers, who (as the name suggests) is very evil, but prefers to get other people to do his dirty work. Iago matches up to the definition of a villain in quite a few ways, although he is not the "perfect" villain. ...read more.


Iago, whilst using people to get what he wants, he does not have the same desperate hunger for power. He wants to be The Moor's lieutenant, but does not want to take over the role of Othello. Richard wants to be the ruler of the kingdom, and just brushes anything that stands in his way aside, be it his brother or a stranger. It quickly becomes apparent, that Richard simply uses his deformity as a tool to gain the sympathy of others-including the readers. Richard's evil is a much more innate part of his character than simple bitterness about his ugly body. Iago does not repeatedly use anything to get sympathy from the audience. He doesn't seem even particularly bothered about how he is portrayed to the audience and others, just so long as the people who matter don't find out. So in some ways Iago is a simpler character than Richard, because right from the start we can see that Iago is a nasty piece of work, and he doesn't cover it up with charisma like Richard does. Once Richard stops exerting his charisma on the audience, his real nature becomes much more apparent, and by the end of the play he can be seen for the monster that he is. You could say that he gets what he deserves at the Battle of Bosworth. ...read more.


This, I think, is the main reason why Iago can be classed as a villain, and not as just someone in the background who influences the outcome. Iago has many reasons for acting the way he does, his reasons may not be right or logical but he believes in them so strongly that he is willing to kill and destroy peoples lives in the process of completing them. His entire motives stem from one thing, jealousy. All of Iago's motives are due to this single feeling. His revenge comes from wanting to avenge the people he is jealous of. He seems to elaborate on these initial ideas until he thinks that everybody has slept with his wife, for this he wants further revenge. At first glance, Iago seems to have no motive for the destruction he is causing. However, despite Iago's unquestionable growth, the motivation behind his actions lie more in Iago's quest for personal gain, as opposed to just being evil for evil's sake. In order to achieve his personal gain Iago manipulates Rodrigo, Cassio and, most importantly, Othello. So in conclusion, I think that Iago is definitely a very human villain, as he is evil, but is not as perfect or as evil as other Shakespeare characters. He shows deep emotions at times, and it is clear from the start that he is aware about what he is doing and he thinks that he is right in doing the things that he does. Philip Singer, 10W1 1 ...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)

    He is seemingly kind, loyal and truthful to Othello, all signs of a true friend. It is only through the intimate soliloquies that the real Iago comes to the fore. Othello's race is particularly important in the play, despite the fact that only one character slurs his race in the play: Iago.

  2. Othello - How far do you agree that the play's main concern is to ...

    I myself. Commend me to my kind lord. O farewell." Desdemona was also generous to Cassio, who had been dismissed, after Iago had used Roderigo to start a fight. She was determined to help him, "I give thee warrant of thy place.

  1. "Iago is the cunning villain of the play Othello; he cleverly manipulates the characters ...

    was 'making the beast with two backs' with Desdemona. Here Iago is saying that Othello is having sex with Desdemona, but notice the language he uses to shock all the people around him, and since his main goal in the play is to destroy Othello, these words aid him, by first disrespecting Othello, and reminding everyone he is a

  2. "How Does Shakespeare's Character Iago (Orthello) Conform to the Literary Tradition of a Villain?"

    Some villains actually appear to be dehumanised (or they dehumanise their targets) and simply cannot feel the emotions others do. A total lack of empathy allows the creation of a justification for anything. Charisma - Oddly enough, most villains are very attractive or have a great force of personality.

  1. "The motive hunting of a motiveless malignity" (Coleridge). Is this a fair assessment of ...

    He does not realise that Iago is betraying their friendship. Thus do I ever make my fool my purse; For I mine own gain'd knowledge should profane If I would time expend with such a snipe (Act I, Scene III, Line 375)

  2. Othello Act 2, Scene 2 - How does Shakespeare create a manipulative villain?

    When Montano and Cassio fight, this is exactly what Iago wanted so he makes no effort to break it up and sends for Roderigo to go and ring a bell and cause a disturbance so as to bring Othello down.

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