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William Shakespeares Othello. What is the impact of Iago's role in Othello - Essay Example

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One of the paramount illustrations of William Shakespeare’s expertise in character-sketch, Iago plays a crucial role in the tragedy Othello, and he is the driving force in this play, conjuring up every action and character to the ultimate tragedy…
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William Shakespeares Othello. What is the impact of Iagos role in Othello
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Download file to see previous pages One of the paramount illustrations of William Shakespeare’s expertise in character-sketch, Iago plays a crucial role in the tragedy Othello, and he is the driving force in this play, conjuring up every action and character to the ultimate tragedy. He is undoubtedly the most appealing and exotic character in the play and has achieved great acclaim from the Shakespearean critics. Iago is a typical villain in the tragedy, manipulating every event and action by all the characters and bringing about a tragic end to the protagonist, Othello, and other characters in the play. The character of Iago has invited a long critical debate, especially regarding his motivation. “Most complex of all for actors and critics is the Iago problem. This villain is much more dangerous than Cinthio’s. He not only betrays the Moor and the Captain (Cassio); he injures everyone in his vicinity. How can so evil a man be plausible? How can he win the confidence of so noble a man as Othello? And more important, what is his motivation?” (Rosenberg, 7) Therefore, Shakespeare’s intention has been to create a depraved and wicked character in Iago who could illustrate the real meaning of tragic villain. In a reflective exploration of the character of Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello, it becomes lucid that he is the perfect example of a tragic villain who became a villain because of his nature, rather than the circumstances. Iago has been one of the most celebrated villains in Shakespearean tragedy and this character is the foremost example of tragic villain in the tragedies by Shakespeare. There have been numerous research evidences to prove that Iago is one of the perfect examples of tragic villains in literature. Significantly, several of the Shakespeare critics consider this character as the optimum example of Shakespeare’s ability to create effective characters. To them, Iago comprises of all the characteristics of a tragic villain and his role is much crucial in the tragic end of the play. While A.C. Bradley presented this character as an artist, into whom Shakespeare put a good deal of himself, R. A. Foakes thinks of this character as a perfect example of tragic villain, manipulating the various actions of the play to bring about the tragic end of the protagonist and other characters: “In Othello, Iago may be seen as a Macilente developed into a tragic villain… The connection with Macilente helps to show why this view (A.C. Bradley’s view) is over-pitched; Iago is not a creator, but a manipulator of what comes his way, an opportunist staging events he in the end cannot control, as they gather momentum he does not foresee…” (Foakes, 15) According to Foakes, Iago is a manipulator of the events and actions in the play, finding the worst in the other characters with the attitude of a satirist and revealing their vices and follies. However, he excels a satirist in that he makes use of these exposures to destroy other characters. In a profound analysis of the character of Iago, it becomes intelligible that this character is not an ordinary villain, but a tragic villain, possessing all the features of a reprehensible villain with astuteness and craftiness. It is fundamental to realize that Iago’s role in the tragedy is unique and complex and the playwright presents this character with all the abilities to bring about the tragic end to the play. In other words, Iago is a character, who plans all the intrigues and treachery in the tragedy, and he is successful in leading the other characters, including and especially the protagonist, to their ultimate tragedy. It is very well illustrated by Iago’s treachery over Roderigo who is in love with Desdemona. Iago’s comment about Roderigo makes the wicked intentions of this character. “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse / For I mine own gain’d knowledge should profane / If I would time expend with such [a] snipe / But for my sport and profit...” ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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