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Iago's behaviour in Othello has been described as showing motiveless malignantly towards the other characters. How true do you find this?

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Lucy Hampton 5th Form Thomas Cookes English Coursework Othello Iago's behaviour in Othello has been described as showing motiveless malignantly towards the other characters. How true do you find this? Firstly the definition of the word 'malignity' is acting out of deep rooted ill will or feelings of deep hatred. However it is also a persistent and on, going suggesting an intense desire to cause pain or suffering upon another person. 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 people's lives in the process of completing them. He has been described as showing 'motiveless malignity' and this could be due to his entire motives stemming from one source this being jealousy, all of Iago�s motives are due to this single feeling. His revenge comes from wanting to damage the people he is jealous of. There is genuine substance for his feelings, but they grow wildly out of his paranoia, for example, he seems to elaborate on these initial ideas until he thinks and convinces himself that everybody has slept with his wife, and for this he wants further revenge. In his quest for revenge he uses Roderigo for money and the strangest factor of all; he seems to enjoy what he is doing! ...read more.


He is almost searching for reasons in order to be able to hurt Othello, be they genuine or not. His jealously is also for Cassio too, and this stems form the fact that he feels he should have been promoted to Lieutenant, not Cassio due to Cassio apparently having 'never set a squadron in the field' 'Mere prattle without practice is all his soldiership' In contrast, Iago feels that he is experienced enough to warrant to post, and that makeover, Othello's 'eyes had seen the proof/ At Rhodes at Cyprus, and on other grounds' He feels that giving Cassio this post is unfair, and only based on Othello's greater 'affection' for Cassio. If this is true, it is certainly understandable that he feels annoyed, although the level of his revenge may be seen as unjustified. However, we must also consider that it may not be time. We never hear anywhere else of either Iago's great abilities as a soldier, or pf Cassio's weakness - and clearly Iago is not exactly an unbiased source. We could argue that Othello's understanding of what is fair is proven by his treatment of Cassio after he has been involved in the fight with Roderigo and Montano where he says that the person responsible, even if 'he had twinned with me, both at birth, shall lose me'. This contradicts Iago's suggestion that Othello is someone who acts unfairly and gives 'preferment' out of 'affection'. ...read more.


In this way, he comments that the only reason he is involved with Roderigo is for his 'sport and profit'. His motivation is entirely mercenary. His reason to kill him is also based on money. It could also be argued that Iago enjoys causing mayhem, pain and discontent in people's lives; it gives him a "buzz" as such. Iago can be likened to a Chameleon; this is because he is ever changing when placed in different environments. When he is with Othello he acts exceptionally warm and honestly but when he is not with him he is scheming and becomes mad with jealously apparently and is intent on planning ways of confusing him and placing him into a sense of disillusionment. This play shows how someone can become obsessed with something so much that he can kill people without a second thought to either the morality or the consequences surrounding death. He did this with his wife when he stabbed her to escape once he had been found out. Once he had achieved his original aims and had gained his vengeful ways with Othello and Cassio he still hated them so much that he exploited them further and in turn leading to Othello's death. I have come to the conclusion that Iago had motives but he developed them and led to him becoming incessantly obsessed with destroying Othello's life. He eventually becomes what could be defined as a Psychopath, and in a sense, we could say that his malignity is motiveless in part. ...read more.

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