We all know Iago as the key, evil scoundrel in this treacherous and winding tragedy and Shakespeare has presented him very cleverly. Iago is a ruthless sociopath who alone has a burning hatred towards all of life and most especially towards Othello.
In the end of the play, Iago is either indirectly or directly the main cause of the deaths of Emilia, Desdemona, Roderigo and Othello. These deaths I feel all come around due to Iago’s utter abhorrence towards most of the people in this play.
There are several motivational reasons as to why Iago would wish to destroy Othello and who he is. The most obvious reason would be that he has just been passed over for a promotion which has gone to Cassio.
He confesses to Roderigo near the beginning of the play that this is the main reason for his absolute repugnance towards Othello:‘I hate the Moor;And it is thought abroad that ‘twixt my sheets’Has done my office.
I know not if’t be true;Yet I, for mere suspicion in that kind,Will do as if for surety.’Also I have a slight reason to believe that Iago hates the sweet innocent love between Desdemona and Othello and instead, would rather clutch her in his own twisted hands; even if that means destroying all means of any obstacles that stand in his way. It may be a minor concept; however Iago may have a small lusting in his heart to have what Othello and Desdemona have which is real, pure love.
He is not satisfied with his own wife Emilia and thus looks at Desdemona as a gift of an angel, something so rarely obtained which has fallen into the hands of an ‘old black ram’. In addition to this point, Iago may be more compelled to hate Othello due to the fact he thinks he has had sex with his own wife, Emilia.Despite not having any evidential proof to this belief, Iago almost wills it to be true so that his hate towards Othello can grow stronger. This also shows that Iago is easily swayed by rumours and is corrupt with vengeance and jealousy.
It seems to be that once Iago has a certain ideology, he will stick to it and do whatever he can to make others either feel the same way and follow his beliefs or to make his enemies fall into his bitter grasp and crush them, slowly but surely. Iago, in a certain sense, also hates Cassio. Yes it is obvious Iago is to hate him due to his new promotion in the army which has raised him above Iago’s current status, but also the fact that Othello is so close and attached to Cassio may frustrate Iago as it is stated that in fact Iago is a better man out on the field of battle.At one point in the play Iago metaphorically writes in stone the demise of Roderigo, Desdemona and Othello.
He has planted his seed of evil and has infected Othello into believing Desdemona is a whore who has slept with Cassio. He has also made Roderigo believe that Cassio should be killed due to his affair with Desdemona and at this point he is relying on Othello being caught after killing Desdemona or even assuming that Othello’s heart will break and he will take his own life when he finally realises what he has done (which essentially is what happens).I believe Shakespeare has intended to show the audience that, no, Iago is not a man who hates, but is so dastardly, sinful and pitiless that he cannot be called a man: instead a demon who serves Satan himself, a character who cannot be described as evil, but rather symbolizes the whole aspect of hatred, jealousy and detestation which boils in the hearts and minds of all things.
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