• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11

Othello and Iago - Who is the monster?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Shakespeare Coursework - Pre 1914 Play GCSE English / English Literature Othello and Iago - Who is the monster? In order to decipher who is the real monster, Othello or Iago, I must first gain a suitable knowledge of what a monster is. The Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus defines a monster to be, 'an inhumanely wicked person.' The Webster's 1828 Dictionary interprets a monster as, 'one unnaturally wicked or mischievous.' This shows that concept of what a monster is has remained fairly constant over time. This leads me to believe that when Shakespeare was creating Othello his ideas as to what a monster was were similar to that of those today. In some ways the term monster can be linked to that of fairytales, examples of which include, Frankenstein and the Wicked Stepmother from Snow White. In some respects you could interpret Othello as a fairytale. Desdemona the pure, innocent princess completely loyal to her husband; Othello the courageous soldier protecting his wife and country from danger and finally Iago the machiavellian, mendacious evil ready to destroy the exuberance of those around him. It is with these thoughts in mind that I have no doubt that was Iago who was the monster. He had an evil around him that lacked motive and throughout the play he remained somewhat enigmatic, as the audience never seemed to discover his true reason for is hatred of Othello. 'I hate the Moor!' (Act 1 Scene 3) The simplicity of the language used in this line makes it evermore prominent in the mind of the audience. This statement was brutally honest and portrays Iago's inner most feelings about Othello. It raises a question in the audiences minds, Why is Iago so full of hate towards Othello? However, while he talks to Roderigo, Iago does not expand on the matter. This leads the audience to believe that the reason he hates the Moor so much is because he overlooked Iago for the position of lieutenant. ...read more.

Middle

Othello believes he is saving Desdemona from committing more sins. As I have stated clearly before, despite everything he still cherished Desdemona! 'I would not have thee linger in thy pain.' (Act 5 Scene 2) Othello wants to cause Desdemona as little pain as possible. He wants to preserve Desdemona, so he didn't want to spill any of her blood. In some respects Othello desperately wanted her to live and by keeping her body as life like as possible he is doing it. Othello is being ripped apart; a part of him still didn't want to kill her. He feels that if he leaves her body unmarked he can absolve himself of responsibility! In comparison, the way Iago killed Emilia is in desperation! He has no compassion for Emilia. He kills her to preserve his own life and honour, not because she betrayed him or because he loved her, but for his own benefit. 'EMILIA: He begged of me to steal it IAGO: Villainous whore!' (Act 5 Scene 2) This is the first time that Iago's true nature was revealed to everyone, including Othello. This murder was brutal and unnatural. He cowardly strikes her from behind and she had no chance to retaliate. Iago doesn't care how much blood was shed, only that his life was intact! Not only does this death symbolise Iago's plans unfolding, but it was also a time of realisation for Othello. He now comprehended that Iago had been feeding him lie upon lie! A monster is amoral; it doesn't have the ability to feel emotions such as regret, guilt, love or sorrow. This adds to my belief that Iago is the monster, he displays no sign of any of these feelings. He gloated over the torment he caused others, such as Othello. He takes a heinous enjoyment in his own cunning, and one feature remains strong in my mind is the fact that he never apologised. 'From this time forth I never will speak again!' (Act 5 Scene 2) ...read more.

Conclusion

Whenever they were weak, or in distress, Iago is there ready to entrap them with his wicked but secretive ways. 'I'll pour pestilence into his ear.' (Act 2 Scene 3) In this quote Iago was directly referring to his plan of ruining Othello, by creating a plan that made Othello believe that his wife was having a relationship with Cassio. Iago's role is to arouse questions in the Moors head of Desdemona's faithfulness. Iago does this quite effectively, whispering seemingly innocent comments in Othello's ear! Iago in some respects does not deserve the title monster, as the enormity of his villainous was more in parallel with the devil. His scheming, ruthlessness can in fact only be compared to that of the devil. On numerous occasions throughout the play he or others made reference to hell and the devil. 'Hell and night Must bring the monstrous birth to the worlds light' (Act 1 Scene 3) In his first soliloquy Iago fashions a link between himself and hell. From that point on the audience associate him with everything that is evil! In these lines we see Iago's true colours, and a preview of the chaos he will wreak over Cassio and Othello's lives! In Act 2 the references to hell and the devil become even more apparent. 'Divinity of hell!' (Act 2 Scene 3) This use of an oxymoron is very effective in showing that to Iago hell is a good thing. It was the first time in the play that Iago actually embraces his evil power of manipulation. In my mind it cemented Iago as the Machiavellian monster of the play! While using hell and devil to describe his nature, Iago also uses it to make derogatory comments about Othello's colour, rather than his character. There appears to be an underlying theme of racism, that could be responsible for part of the jealousy and hatred that Iago feels towards Othello. At a time when black people usually appeared to be inferior to the whites, it must have been hard to take orders from Othello. ...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. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    word with some kind of proof "I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove;" yet Othello fails to keep to his word as he becomes angered by the mere thought of his wife deceiving him. It is due to this that he asks Iago to examine Desdemona to seek out the truth, yet the truth never is found.

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

    Othello talks of Desdemona "If I do prove her haggard/Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings/I'd whistle her off and let her down the wind/To prey at fortune". Here Shakespeare uses animal imagery to refer to characters. What Othello is saying here is that if he finds Iago is right, then he will deal with Desdemona immediately.

  2. Essay on 'Othello'

    Iago is able to successfully play a number of roles, and is able to adapt his tone and style to suit any occasion. In this scene Iago acts apparently loyal, and as if he has everybody else's interests at heart.

  1. Examine the importance of Act 3: Scene 3 of Othello, considering its significance in ...

    Trust is needed in order for love to remain consistent is a clear statement made by this play. Emilia and Desdemona's love is consistent and trust is there between them until the end. It is also shown that it may be impossible to both love and hate one person at one time.

  2. In What Ways Does The Character Of Othello Conform to Literary Tradition Of The ...

    He thinks that he has been made a fool, by Desdemona who he now sees as calculating and deceptive: 'Patience, though young and rose lipped cherubin, Ay, there look grim as hell!' Here he is reflecting on the transformation that he feels Desdemona has made, from a pure, innocent heavenly creature of beauty to a fierce, evil, cunning whore.

  1. How is Othello and Desdemonas relationship doomed from the opening of the play?

    though putting emphasises on Brabantio, as he is, evidently, the one isn't going to be pleased with his daughter's actions. Another device that Shakespeare uses to suggests the doom of Othello and Desdemona's relationship is the fact that Othello is an outsider and isn't fully part of Venetian society.

  2. Compare and contrast the characters of Othello and Iago, with reference to Act 1 ...

    It is obvious that Othello is a much 'deeper', more sensitive man than Iago. Another contrast is that Iago's motivation is himself and his self-interest. Iago desires success and gain for himself and no other. It appears that his major grudge against Othello is that he promoted "a fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife" (that is, Cassio)

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