Othello Pathology of evil Essay

In Shakespeare’s play Othello there are many topics that are discussed but the topic that has the biggest impact is evil - Othello Pathology of evil Essay introduction. From this the pathology of evil can be pondered upon specifically when looking at Iago. The pathology of evil highlights that evil is an unforeseen disease proving that once you are infected it is impossible to fully recover. Firstly evil is developed and started to fulfill a specific purpose, the disease starts out small and only effects the primary host.

In the play Othello Iago first turns evil to get the position of lieutenant. Iago says, “In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,/ [o]ff-capp’d to him; and, by the faith of man,/ I know my price; I am worth no worse a place/. …One Michael Cassio, a Florentine… , [t]hat never set a squadron in the field/ [n]or the division of a battle knows/ [m]ore than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric. ” (Othello, 1. 1.

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9-24) This shows that Iago is expressing his anger by saying he knows he is worthy and should not have gotten a position lower than lieutenant and since he is an ensign he is angry. This quote also shows how Iago tried so hard to become the lieutenant and when Iago says ‘I know my price I am worth no worse a place’ it shows this is the motive and the birth of evil to take over Iago. Next we see Iago talking about Cassio and how he is not even worthy. Iago is getting angry because he knows that Cassio has no experience of being in a battle.

Also over here we see that Iago is again expressing his anger because it shows that he is angry because he is a lot more experienced than Cassio and knows that in reality he deserves more and so due to this the evil desire has erupted within him. In addition while reading the beginning of the play Othello it so happens that Iago always lists his motives for committing the evil acts he so chooses for instance when he says, “…I do suspect the lusty Moor/ [has] [jumped] into my seat;…

[t]ill I am even’d with him…, [by] [putting] the moor…into a jealousy so strong that judgement cannot. ” (Othello, 2. 1. 283-290). This line again shows how Iago now believes that even Othello has done wrong to him, before Iago’s evil intentions were only to get rid of Cassio and takeover as lieutenant but now we see that Iago also wants Othello to suffer for what he did and for Iago to commit an evil act towards Othello, Iago had to develop a motive so that in this early stage of the disease he could continue being evil and now commit more acts to eventually ruin Othello.

Also in the early stages of the pathology of evil as mentioned earlier there is always a prior plan in which the evil deed will be carried out and the motive behind it, in other words everything is planned out, this is marvellously shown when in the play Othello Iago says, “If I can fasten but one cup upon him/[w]ith that which he hath drunk to-night already,/[h]e’ll be as full of quarrel and offence/[a]s my young mistress’ dog…to put our Cassio in some action/[t]hat may offend the isle. ” (Othello, 2.

3. 41-54). From this it shows how Iago has pre-planned is evil act by revealing it to the audience through his soliloquy as he explicitly states that to gain the position of lieutenant he must tarnish Cassio’s reputation and Iago plans on doing this by getting Cassio drunk at an event he is supposed to be overlooking. To continue, the pathology of evil shows that the disease is contagious and that it develops and spreads to a point where being evil is no longer a choice but a part of nature.

To emphasize this point when referring to the play Othello it is evidently shown how Iago unleashes his evil upon Othello and soon gets the valiant an noble moor to become filled with rage and ruthless evilness through the course of manipulating his mind through jealousy. This is specifically stated when Othello himself says, “I will chop her into messes! Cuckold me! ” (Othello, 4. 1. 190). This clearly shows how the disease which in this case, evil is contagious and how it can rapidly spread from one person to the next.

Throughout the novel Othello was looked at as the ‘good guy’, he was the one with all the power and was the one who seemed indestructible because he had been through numerous battles and despite receiving bodily harm remained victorious. But ironically he was defeated through the mental war as Iago manipulated him thus turning him into an evil being again proving how evil can easily spread form one person to the other. Moving on, towards the middle of the novel Iago triumphs in his original plan, which led to his evil behaviour when Othello says, “Now [you] [are] my lieutenant.

” (Othello, 3. 3. 478). Since the start of the play, evil sprouted within Iago so that he could overtake Cassio in becoming lieutenant and now when he becomes appointed as lieutenant the audience would supposedly assume that the play would end and that Iago would return to being who he truly was but inevitably the play as seen does not end and Iago does not stop his evil actions because going back to the thesis, once Iago or anyone for that matter was infected they did not recover to who they

truly were and showing that the disease spreads in a way that there is no choice left and it does not take thought to be evil as it just happens naturally and becomes a part of who you are. A more precise example of this is shown when Othello is deciding Desdemona’s punishment by saying that he will poison her but before he can initiate this act Iago interrupts him to say, “Do it not with poison. Strangle her in her bed, even the bed/ she hath contaminated. ” (Othello, 4. 1. 209).

This passage shows how evil has become a part of Iago’s nature because when reviewing the play it is shown how Iago puts no thought what so ever in what he say but offers a very cruel and evil punishment, this also shows how Iago is amused by the thought of evil and by being evil because he should have no say in what Othello chooses to do with Desdemona because Desdemona is Othello’s wife and ultimately Othello should get to choose what happens to Desdemona but we get to see how the evilness in Iago naturally takes over and suggests a punishment that more amuses Iago.

In the end we can see that in Shakespeare’s play Othello the pathology of evil is developed through Iago and it shows us that once evil has penetrated it spreads like a viral infection and one who becomes evil can never become good again. Man may argue that Othello turned evil but at the end regained his honour and fully recovered but when looked at with a wider lenses that argument goes to waste because he killed his own wife and killed himself and in reality he was unable to recover because he died and had no control over himself again proving that evil is a disease from which no one can recover.

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