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Show how Shakespeare presents the negative and malevolent characteristics in Iago's character in the early scenes of the play.

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Show how Shakespeare presents the negative and malevolent characteristics in Iago's character in the early scenes of the play. The play "Othello" was written in 1604, by the playwright William Shakespeare, one of the best and well-known writers of that period and up to the current day. It is a tragedy based on Othello, a general in the Venetian army and his beautiful wife Desdemona whom he loves very much. In the play, there are many unique characters such as, Cassio, Othello's Lieutenant, Brabantio, Desdemona's protective father, and Roderigo, a gentleman of Venice. Perhaps the most interesting character in the tragic play is "honest Iago," the evil, scheming, misanthropic Ancient of Othello. In the play, villainous Iago pushes Othello to turn into the cold-blooded murderer of his loving wife Desdemona. This is done by Iago's clever, deceitful plotting. I am going to demonstrate how Shakespeare's presentation of Iago makes him a very negative and amoral character. From the very start of the play, Shakespeare makes it clear to the audience that Iago is a negative, malevolent character by showing his abhorrence towards Othello and Cassio. The first word Iago says is "'Sblood", a swear word of the time meaning 'God's blood'. This instantly portrays Iago as an aggressive character. ...read more.


Shakespeare is presenting the misanthropic Iago because he hates a lot of people. This makes him a very negative character by the eyes of the audience. Shakespeare shows a predominant negative characteristic of Iago, his hypercritical behaviour. He does this by making the character of Iago appear close friends with Othello and Cassio, so he gains their trust. This professes Cassio to follow Iago's plan as he says, "You advise me well", even though Iago is telling Cassio to speak with Desdemona so Othello will make accusations. Othello also has lots of respect for him, and often refers to him as "honest Iago." Iago is loyal, and sticks up for Cassio and Othello when they are around, but when their backs are turned he plots against them. For example before Othello enters the scene, Iago is saying things like, "your daughter covered with Barbary horse," and "I hate the moor" but when Othello enters the scene, he calls him "your honour." This is very respectful and shows Iago's deceitfulness. Iago also has led Othello to believe that he is a good, hardworking man, but he isn't. He is disrespectful and isn't loyal to Othello because he says, "nor all masters cannot be truly followed." ...read more.


Iago has a solid insight into human nature, but uses this in a manipulative way, for example with Roderigo. Roderigo is love-struck with Desdemona and Iago tells him that in order to win her heart, he must give her money. This is a manipulative and cunning ploy to take Roderigo's money. He says, "put money in thy purse." "Fill thy purse with money." He repeatedly says these phrases, and this encourages Roderigo to do so. Roderigo is deceived and this allows Iago to swindle the money from him. He does this without the feeling of guilt, which creates a very negative, inconsiderate character. Shakespeare involves lots of devil like imagery in Iago's speech. For example, "Hell and night must bring this monstrous birth to the worlds light," and "When devils will the blackest sins put on they do suggest at first with heavenly shows, as I do now." Here, Iago is comparing himself with the devil. It is as if he is proud to be an evil, manipulating being. Shakespeare does this so the audience can see the similarities between Iago and Satan. Shakespeare gives Iago many negative characteristics such as, jealousy, racism, manipulation, bitterness, and a resemblance to the devil. He presents these by the crafty use of Iago's scheming plans throughout the play, with regular soliloquys so the audience can see exactly what Iago is doing. This results with Iago being the clear villain to the tragedy. ...read more.

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