12 Jul 2019

MA English Part.1,Paper.2 Classical Drama Othello | the character of Iago

Classical Drama Othello by William Shakespeare

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The Character of Iago

At one place in the drama says that ," I am not what I am." From this one can guess that what type of person Iago is. Iago is a super and unique villain. He is a double faced fellow.During the play it becomes very difficult to know of his real face.

He has Mephistophelean traits and qualities.He is the follower of Lucifer.He is a Satan. Othello at the end of the play says that he cannot kill him as he is a devil.He is an atheist of human nature,the stealthy corrupter of human piety,a fearless disturber of domestic peace and a denier of all spiritual things.

Coleridge is of the view that the malignity of Iago is motiveless.But famous critic A.C Bradley contradicts this opinion of Coleridge.He says that no character of Shakespeare s' plays is motiveless.With Iago the problem is that he has been assigned with many motives.The difficulty arises in recognizing Iago s' motives.So we cannot say that Iago s' malignity is motiveless.

Iago hates Othello for two reasons the first is that Othello is a Moor,secondly Othello has appointed Cassio as Lieutenant in place of him.He indulges in jealousy so much that it takes the life of Othello,Desdemona as well as his own.

The key to Iago s' motive lies in the composition of his character.One major trait of his character is his sense of superiority and contempt for others.Othello s' eminence,Othello s' goodness and his own dependence on Othello,must have been a perpetual annoyance to him.

What Iago wants is power and sense of superiority.His all efforts,in a complex way,are going to get all these things.When he fails,he become a satan, a villain.To some extent, he thinks that Othello has undervalued him.

In addition to Iago s' strong desire to satisfy his sense of power,there are also other forces which drive him on.One of them is  pleasure in a perilous and intensely exciting action.He is a man of action not of words.

Hazlitt says,Iago is an amateur of tragedy in real life.Instead of employing his invention on imaginary characters,he chooses his friends and relations around.His manipulation of characters,especially Othello and Roderigo, is excellent and artistic,which a true artist can perform.

Iago uses Roderigo for his purpose.He makes  fool of cassio. He uses his wife Emilia in stealing the handkerchief of Desdemona.He very successfully poisons the ear of Othello against Cassio and Desdemona. So,we can say that he is a super and unique villain.

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