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Which of these two critics do you feel most closely represents your own view of Iago?

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Introduction

In the view of Samuel Taylor-Coleridge (1790's) Iago demonstrates "motiveless malignity." According to Felicity Currie (1990's) Iago is a discourse representing the views of the Venetian patriarchal state. Which of these two critics do you feel most closely represents your own view of Iago? I feel that Felicity Currie's idea of Iago as a discourse most closely represents my own view of Iago. I chose this idea because I feel that her interpretation of Iago's character is more significant and relevant in terms of today's feminist and political ideas and opinions. Iago; Othello's ensign, is a character who dominates most of the play appearing in all but two scenes and having 1/3rd of the lines. The whole play seems like its direction is being guided by Iago, as if it were his plan, improvised as he goes along and this is shown when he says, "'tis here, but yet confused" in one of his soliloquies giving a sense that Iago is improvising a scheme or constantly changing a one which he has already thought out so that he can defend the patriarchal state, Iago gives an illusion of spontaneity. Iago is simply the representative of popular tabloid views and therefore caught the attention of the Jacobean audiences. As a defender of what is right in the state of Venice, 'honest Iago' upholds not only ideals but the truth also. ...read more.

Middle

His disapproval can quite clearly be seen and would match with the disapproval which a typical Jacobean audience have faced with such a dilemma. The language he uses which is eventually picked up by Othello is tabloid language, representing the views of the establishment; this develops further on the idea that Iago is a representative of Venetian patriarchal sentiments. One could interpret Iago's constantly changing motives for his hate of the love between Othello and Desdemona and others in general as 'motiveless malignity' but I feel that his constantly changing motives show his dedication to the destruction of Othello's and Desdemona's love, it is too threatening on the status quo for it to be tolerated. The lack of psychological coherence that Iago shows also fits well with the idea that he is not a person but the embodiment of tabloid, popular views. I interpret it that he is so focused on the destruction, that he is willing to fabricate any kind of reason, no matter how absurd so that he can complete his 'mission', fulfil his purpose. One is led to believe that he first is angry for not being promoted to lieutenant but then he says, "'twixt my sheets, he's done my office" about Othello and then says later, "for I fear Cassio with my night-cap too." ...read more.

Conclusion

His manipulation of Roderigo seems a very calculated and motivated action as it would appear he would need money to carry out his plans. How Iago acts when his plan falls apart at the end of the play shows how calculated his actions were. His fluency of tongue disappears at the end of the play when all the characters realise how dishonest he really was all along until he just gradually stops speaking. Iago's sudden silence at the end when he exclaims, "from this time forth I never will speak word," could be interpreted as a support of the idea of his inability to explain his motives but I feel that he decides not to speak further as at that point; he has fulfilled all his goals. He has destroyed the relationship between Othello and Desdemona, destroyed Othello's reputation, destroyed two rebellious women and revealed the truth. He has upheld the ideals of the Venetian state as he set out to do and therefore has no other reason to speak. Iago is just the embodiment of the patriarchal politics with the sole purpose to uphold the ideals and nothing else. Iago demonises and destroys what threatens the serenity of Venice and once he has done this, can be silenced and thrown away. The casual nature of the senators at the end of the play show how little they care for the fate of Iago, a mere tool to aid the achievement of ideals. R�my Daroo 6B1 10/05/2007 ...read more.

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