Iago Analysis

Shakepeare’s Iago at first glance he seems pure evil and is the evident antagonist in the play Othello. Shakespeare adds depth to his villain by making him have amoral contrastingly to the cliché immoral villain. Iago’s plotting and scheming begins when the ‘ignorant, ill-suited’ Cassio is given the military promotion instead of him. Bent on jealousy, he plots to steal the position he feels he deserves. Consumed with envy, Iago deceives, lies and manipulates people around him and even his friends without a much of a second thought. This highlights his lack of a conscience and portrays him to be a heartless man who will stop at no ends until he has achieved his goal.
Throughout the play it is noticeable that whenever Iago speaks, his words are always shrouded with deception. As shown in Act II scene III Iago pretends to be Cassio’s friend where in reality he hates him, casually chatting away, singing drinking songs and offering him drinks constantly. Normally seen as a gesture of good friendship and hospitality, reality is that Iago is only trying to get Cassio drunk as he knows that Cassio is a bad drunk and will hence stir up some trouble which in time will result in him having his ranks stripped off him. This opens the position which Iago desires. The use of appearance vs reality here highlights the deceptive nature of Iago.
Iago manipulates all the people around him throughout the course of the play. One of the prominent, recurring examples is Roderigo and himself. Iago takes advantage of Roderigo’s jealousy towards Othello because he is married to Desdemona (whom Roderigo loves) and turns it into hate. The root of Iago’s hate towards Othello was at first because of his ethnicity but later on we are told that Iago also assumes that his wife has slept with the ‘Moor’. Driven by his own hate he utilises Roderigo manipulating his jealousy to hate to go do his ‘dirty work’ in his plot against Othello. Iago is potrayed as the puppet master throughout the play...