Iago, More than Just a Villain Iago, the evil villain of Shakespeare's Othello, is more than just a villain. In many ways he is the most intelligent and appealing character in the play. Iago shows superiority over the rest of the characters in the play. He has the ability to manipulate the characters in the play, therefore controlling the play with every sequence of events. His intelligence shines through his ability to deceive, his ability to, and his ability to twist the truth.
Iago is appealing to the characters of the pay because he gives them what they want. Iago is appealing to the reader as well. His character is totally un conflicted about being evil, making him known to some authors as the villain of all villains. Iago is, in many ways, the most intelligent and appealing character in the play. Iago has a sophisticated way of deceiving the characters of the play, making him a very intelligent person. Early in the play Othello introduces Iago to the Duke of Venice as, "My ancient / A man he is of honesty and trust" (! .
iii. 284-85). This is but one of the times in the play that Iago is referred to as honest and true. Throughout the play Iago is considered to be honest, but is actuality the villain. In order to maintain this false image one has to have a beguiling character. After Othello and his lieutenant, Michael Cassio, return from the war against the Ottomans, there is a celebration.
At this celebration Iago puts his manipulation to work. He knows that Othello and Desdemona's love for each other is very true, but he tells Rodrigo that Desdemona had love for Cassio: "With as little a web as this will I ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. / Ay, smile upon her, do... ." (II. I. 164-65).
This quote shows that Iago deceives Roderigo into believing that Desdemona loves Cassio, when in Roderigo's eyes it is virtually impossible. Iago basically controls Rodrigo because Iago deceives him into believing that he can have Desdemona, by both Cassio and Othello. Iago uses his strategically apt abilities to come up with a very intelligent system that will eventually destroy Othello. After Iago and Rodrigo find out about Othello and Desdemona's marriage, Iago manipulates Rodrigo into making him angry, because Rodrigo has feelings for Desdemona. Iago and Roderigo go to Brabantio's abode to enrage him by telling him about Othello and Desdemona: "Call up her father: / Rouse him, make after him, poison his delight... / Plague him with flies / though that his joy be joy, / Yet throw such chances of vexation on't...
." (I. i. 68-74). The significance is that Roderigo makes him upset by telling him of Othello and Desdemona. Iago's deceiving plot makes Rodrigo as if he is an honest nobody who wants to help Rodrigo and his "lost " daughter. Rodrigo calls to Brabantio's window and pours out his emotions on this subject.
.".. Your fair daughter... / Transported with no worse nor better gau red / But with a knave of common hire, a / To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor" (! . I.
121-25). The significance of these quotes is that Iago creates this blue print in which he uses his strategical intelligence to manipulate Rodrigo into manipulating Brabantio into believing that the "Moor" is lascivious, which will infuriate Brabantio. This is a very complex scheme that was provoked by Iago. He makes both Rodrigo and Brabantio adversaries of Othello.
This plan wasn't for the benefit of Rodrigo or Brabantio, but by using them as pawns, he gets closer to destroying Othello without getting involved in the conflict, which shows a good example of his intelligence. Iago has a keen ability to be able to twist the truth. He is able to work around what is real by his excellent word usage and persuasiveness. Iago uses words to create puns that can easily make someone, Othello, jealous.
In the third act Othello, Iago, and Emilia are having a conversation on Iago and Emilia's relationship, which notifies Othello of the problems to come. Emilia exits the scene and Iago and Othello are left to have a man to man conversation. Iago wants Othello to get jealous over Cassio and Desdemona's relationship, so he decides to lie about his opinion on the matter. Iago brings up Othello's gift to Desdemona, the handkerchief. He plays with words in order to create a pun that will incense Othello: "I know not that; but such a handkerchief- / I am sure it was your wife's - did I today / See Cassio wipe his beard with" (III. Iii.
437-39). This quote is an excellent example of how Iago uses words to twist the truth. He creates a situation in which Cassio uses Othello's dear gift, the handkerchief, as a piece of trash. This quote signifies how Iago works around the truth in order to make Othello extremely suspicious of Cassio. Earlier in the scene Iago persuades Othello into believing that Cassio is having an affair with Cassio. By persuading him Othello into thinking that Cassio has admitted to this act, Iago twists the truth, that Cassio has importuned Desdemona for his title.
Iago and Othello are in the crypt of the castle discussing the loyalty of their friendship. In this conversation Iago brings up his views on the dishonesty of Desdemona and Cassio, and persuades Othello that they are having an affair: There are a kind of men so loose of soul That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs. One kind of this is Cassio. In sleep I heard him say, 'Sweet Desdemona, Let us be wary, let us hide our loves.' (III. Iii. 417-21) Iago shows that Casio is in fact in love with Desdemona, and that Cassio is in fact doing dishonesty to Othello.
Othello does get discouraged by this advice given by Iago, and eventually does confront Desdemona. The quote specifically displays how Iago can make Cassio seem evil to Othello. Iago persuades Othello into believing him, which creates a way for Iago to work around the truth. Iago completely changes the appearance of Cassio, therefore making Iago extremely intelligent and far superior.
Iago's magnificent intelligence and superiority make him a very intriguing character. Iago is not just any villain that comes into a town, with a black cape and knife that scares everyone, he destroys and "kills" by using creative tactics that could only be thought of by someone who is brilliant. He deceives, strategies, and twists the truth with amazing ease. Iago maintains his on point intelligence by staying completely un conflicted about being evil.
Iago is completely committed as he states, "[He will] turn her virtue into pitch, / And... make the net / That shall enmesh them all" (II. Ii. 366-368).
Iago is considered a cross between God and the Devil, as shown in the, "Divinity of Hell!" (! ! . ii. 356).