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

Othello – Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Othello - Samuel Taylor Coleridge Samuel Taylor Coleridge presented his view on the personality of the most complex character in "Othello" and, arguably the most complex character in Shakespearean Tragedy, Iago, as "the motive hunting of motiveless malignity". This, in itself, is a rather complex assessment, which may be interpreted in more than one way. At the immediate outset, it is worth attempting to define Coleridge's statement. On a simplistic level, the quotation can be perceived to imply that Iago does not have a motive, but desperately wants and seeks to obtain a motive. He commits acts of evil, solely for the sake of evil. Coleridge seems to shed doubt upon the motives of Iago for his actions, dismissing them as evidence of "motiveless malignity". According to Coleridge, Iago's reasons for his actions, namely that Othello overlooked him for the post of lieutenant and his claim that Othello had a secret liaison with Emilia, his mistress ("twixt my sheets.... Done my office"), are unclear, inappropriate and very much half-hearted. Iago admits his resentment of Cassio's "daily beauty in his life/ That makes me ugly". This feeling of inferiority may act as a point of motivation. The achievements and status of everyone around him could quite easily as a trigger for him. ...read more.

Middle

In my opinion, to a large degree, Iago is one of Shakespeare's most inexplicable characters. Most people, even the most notorious criminals, are deterred from evil for fear of consequence. The characteristic of fear of punishment is absent in Iago. Upon the revelation of his wicked plot, Iago says that he will "never speak word". He has neither desire nor intention to defend himself. There is thus an enigma surrounding this complex individual. But, I think we have to be careful when we go as far as to define Iago as a psychopath. For such an association, I believe we require further evidence. Iago receives a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment out of the psychological destruction of humans, evidence of sheer malicious pleasure. He refers to his tempting of Othello as a "sport". As his evil plotting unfolds, "pleasure and action make the hours seem short". With Cassio, Iago's desire is to not only "get his place", of which he feel denied, but also satisfy his will, or, as he himself puts it, "to plume up my will". Iago's life is ultimately empty, as he is disassociated with human nature. It is certainly not hyperbolic to term him a "psychological sadist". ...read more.

Conclusion

We are presented with further evidence that Iago has motives for his malignity. At the outset, in his exchanges with Roderigo, Iago comments, "Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago". This seems to suggest that his primary motive is jealousy. I interpret his words to mean that, if he were the Moor, or even a close associate of the Moor, he would not be inclined to commit evil deeds. He goes on to describe his "peculiar end", suggesting that, whatever it may be, he does have an end, a motive. Iago states that his "cause is hearted". The word "cause" would seem to suggest the existence of a motive. If we scrutinise the evidence in detail, we can see that Iago seeks revenge. The word "revenge" is defined in the following way: "vengeance for wrongs or injury received" (REF: Oxford English Dictionary). The fact that Iago seeks "revenge" would seem to imply, by mere definition of the word, that he does have a motive. He feels wronged. He also wishes to even himself with Othello, "wife for wife"- another potential motive. Iago tells us, "I do suspect the lusty Moor hath leaped into my seat". His sexual jealousy and his shame of being cuckolded are so great that he refuses to mention this to Rodrigo. This tells us that Iago is a man of immense pride. ...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. In the view of Samuel Taylor-Coleridge (1790's) Iago demonstrates "motiveless malignity." According to Felicity ...

    Othello's violence climaxes with the killing of Desdemona and then himself. Iago also reveals the vulnerability of Desdemona who starts the play as a composed mature young lady and end as the helpless, childlike victim of Othello's wrath. Iago also finds Cassio's secret weakness for drink and women and capitalises

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

    For example, when Lodovico had witnessed Othello hit Desdemona, he said: Is this the noble Moor whom our full Senate Call all in all sufficient? Is this the nature Whom passion could not shake? whose solid virtue The shot of accident nor dart of chance could neither graze nor pierce (IV, i, lines 264-8)?

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

    Here Iago is confused why Othello has made such a 'stupid' decision. Iago is a man with a huge ego who knows, and sometimes overestimates, his worth. Roderigo understands Iago when Iago said that he is "affined to love the Moor."(1.1.36-37)

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

    It emerges that his hatred towards Othello is not anger at being passed over for promotion - this was concocted simply to assure his dupe of his hatred for the Moor.

  2. Iago's Soliloquies display 'the Motive Hunting of a Motiveless Malignity.'(Coleridge) Why does Iago behave ...

    His behaviour, using lies and manipulating others to unwillingly take part in his plan is also evil. Iago also possesses the ability to create this impression among the other characters that he is the most honest, loyal and trustworthy character.

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

    This is a name for a person who is black. Another nickname mentioned for Othello in the play is "thick lips". Racism is a theme of the play coming from Iago, Roderigo and even Brabantio. Iago is also extremely jealous of Othello because his job is in such a high

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

    Taking this into consideration there is also a possibility that Iago could be jealous of Othello's status and the hold of power that he has over him. Therefore, these two factors, when placed together, push forward the suggestion that Iago hated the fact that he, who in his mind is

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