Live Chat Support

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Essay on The Motivations of Iago

Essay on the Motivations of Iago

Explore what motivates Iago. Is he simply the devil incarnate who is malevolent without reason? Is he an "evil genius"? Or was he justified in his actions?

Iago is perhaps one of the most vicious and complex characters of Shakespeare. In fact, may regard him as an artist of evil as he delivers his schemes with utmost craftsmanship and cleverness. However, what is more fascinating about this character is the utter lack of any clear motivation and agendas for his actions. Throughout the play, Iago offers numerous and often times, incompatible motives for doing a certain act. In the first scene for instance, he claims to have a grudge against Othello for overlooking him for the lieutenant position. As the story progresses, Iago reveals his suspicion that Othello may have slept with his wife, Emilia. This is evident in the lines:

                        “twixt my sheets,
                        He has done my office” (Shakespeare 369-370).
Iago continues to elaborate this thought at the last part of Act II in Scene I. He reveals his desire and lust after Desdemona as he wants to take revenge by exclaiming “a wife for a wife” (Shakespeare 286). Nevertheless, none of Iago’s claims seem to offer an adequate explanation behind his deep hatred for Othello. This is because he does not stop at Othello alone. Instead he plots revenge on almost everyone who provokes his plans – this even includes his wife, Emilia.

Some scholars suggest that Shakespeare has created the character of Iago based on the concept of the devil. In Act I, Iago says that “I am not what I am” (Shakespeare 65). This line is a reminiscent of a similar line from the Bible where God says” “I am what I am” (Exodus 3:14). If the line “I am what I am”, directly represents God, then it is possible that Shakespeare intended to make Iago’s line “I am not what I am not”, a representation of something that is opposite to God which is the devil. In the play, Iago exhibits devil-like qualities such as lying and using people’s vulnerabilities to deceive them which will ultimately lead to their destruction. More importantly, Iago does this not for any clear reason, but simply for the sake of doing evil. These qualities are evident in his scenes with Rodrigo as it showcases his abilities to manipulate other people. He also shows such qualities at his attempts to pull Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and Emilia in his schemes. This only shows his insatiable obsession of destroying people as well as his indifference to the concept of what is moral and good.

The Reliable and Affordable Essay Writing Services

On the other hand, some literary scholars suggest that Iago’s motivation may have stem from his lust for Othello. Some scholars suggest that the play may have had some homosexual undertones wherein Iago may have plotted of those schemes in order to woo Othello away from Desdemona. It is apparent how Iago enjoys and puts in an extra effort in preventing Othello from having a marital happiness with Desdemona. At the same time, Iago often expresses his love for Othello throughout the play. 

It is also evident how Iago spends most of his time beside Othello despite the fact that he has promoted Cassio for the lieutenant position that he also desires. In addition, Iago’s dissatisfaction with his relationship with Emilia is also apparent throughout the play. In fact, Iago even murdered his wife in order for him to properly implement his evil schemes.

Regardless whether Iago’s malignancy is motiveless or it comes from pure lust for Othello, the fact remains that his plots and evil plans are the main source why this story has revolved and ended into a tragedy. Iago’s lies and deceptions have put the entire play to motion and at the same time, it ultimately led to the destruction of the other characters as well his own. As such, it could be argued, that perhaps, Iago is the main character of this play.

Works Cited
Shakespeare, William. Othello. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

This is a sample essay on The Motivations of Iago from the leading provider of reliable and affordable essay writing services and research paper writing services in the United States and the United Kingdom

No comments:

Post a Comment