Iago may be the most talked about villain ever read in the Shakespearean literature. The entirety of the play, he assures that he will destroy Othello and Desdemona. He plays a crucial part. He is the central character. To understand the play you need to understand Iago. Shakespeare uses the idea of reality vs. perception, which Iago has and displays when he communicates with other characters and the audience. An example, when Othello discusses how he trusts Iago and knows that he will not pull a fast one on him. But in reality, Iago shows he doesn’t have intentions to be loyal. This is crucial because once Othello trusts Iago fully, then that’s when Iago puts his plan into motion. Another example used to describe Reality vs. Perception is with Othello’s expectations of Iago, who he sees as his friend and he sees as trustworthy.
The perception is how Othello makes himself believe that Iago is good. He makes himself to believe that Iago wouldn’t do anything wrong. He shows his emotions when he says “Iago is most honest” (Act 2, scene 3). The reality pertaining to this is that Iago has evil and menacing emotions concerning Othello. He was questioning his choice but, lying to himself and others that Iago was a good man. Reality vs. perception comes into motion with Desdemona and Othello’s issues. The perception was how Othello believed Desdemona had sex with other men and started to get bored. The reality to this was that Desdemona stayed faithful to Othello and
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gave him her all. Iago planned these events to take place and spread falsehoods about Desdemona’s false relations with Cassio and that she longer had feelings for him.
Iago had motives for his actions and plans he showed during the play. His motives were money, revenge, jealousy, and race. He wants revenge on Othello because he believes that he had sex with his wife, Emilia. He wants Othello to feel those emotions. One of his motives is jealousy. Iago is jealous of Cassio being chosen for lieutenant instead of him. He was also jealous of Othello’s position. Other than revenge, money would be one of Iago’s main motives and concern behind his plan. He convinced Roderigo that he would help him get Desdemona. But, Iago tells Roderigo he would have to pay him for this task and he takes the offer. Each time they would meet, Roderigo would be sad and want her to fall for him. Instead of Iago being a good ‘friend’ towards Cassio, he reminds him of the money and that he should focus on that, like his. Iago shows his greed when he repeats the line “Put money in thy purse” (Act 1, scene 3). The reason one of the motives is by race. Iago downgrades Othello whenever he can. In different scenes, he will compare Othello to animals and not only his position. Also by his skin color and call him “moor” but in a condescending way. He makes the statement saying ” I hate the moor; my cause is hearted” ( Act 1, scene 3). These words from Iago divulge his true emotions towards Othello.
The motives may be obvious by Iago’s actions. His true motive is his obsession with being menacing. He uses jealousy and anger as fundamental reasons to bring forth wickedness. It was as if he allowed his malice to overtake him and attempted to control the circumstances by making it worse and attempted to cover his tracks. He tried keeping him out of the loop as much as he could.
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The themes of the play are Gender, Race, Hate, Manipulation, Identity, and Jealousy. Jealousy would be the main theme. It is seen in the entire play. Jealousy was the reason Iago hated Cassio and a reason why Othello killed Desdemona. Shakespeare showed how Jealousy can cause a character to act out due to emotions and the lives of others become ruined. Gender is a theme because during this time the daughters would obey their fathers and wives would obey their husbands. In the play, Iago would make comments degrading women. His wife was one of them. Hate and Race are the next themes shown in the play. Hate was one because Iago let his hatred for Othello take resonance and obsessed over. He also hated his wife for having sex with Othello, which didn’t happen. He hated Cassio for being given the job he wanted. Race was another because he made comments on Othello being a moor and called him “a beast”. Most of the play focuses on Desdemona being married to a moor, this is where some of the conflicts stem from. Identity would be a theme due to the whole play being focused on one’s position and power they had been given. Identity, not only, described one’s character but also the role they held and how relevant they were. Manipulation was the last theme in the play because Iago manipulated each character to do what he said. They were tricked into thinking he was a good person. He tricked Othello into believing that he was honest and loyal. Someone he could trust and made believed his wife, Desdemona was having sex with Cassio.
Iago is a psychopath. This is ‘An Iago’. Psychopaths are around even today. He was unable of having relationships. He didn’t feel guilt or concern with anything. He is evil, cruel, he is deeply unpleasant. The audience learns of this. He doesn’t have a conscience. He doesn’t do anything good out of his heart. Iago is a man who was overtaken by feelings of hatred and
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jealousy. His mind and thoughts, which he soon sought to ruin the life of not only his but the lives of those around him and didn’t phase him. Not one bit.