Compare and Contrast Othello and Iago from the play of Shakespeare The famous play Othello by William Shakespeare is named after the main character who is a black man making his way in white European society. His friend and fellow nobleman Iago, however, is arguably just as important to the plot of the play because he is presented as a contrast to the character of Othello…
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He is a proud man, and he is portrayed as acting out of good intentions, even though he kills his wife out of jealousy because he thinks she has been unfaithful to him. When he realizes what he has done, and that his wife is innocent, he is bitterly sorry and says Othello: “I kissed thee ere I killed thee: No way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” (Othello: Act 5 scene 2.) This emphasis on kissing as betrayal recalls the figure of Judas, one of Jesus Christ’s disciples. Just like Judas, Othello feels that he has no alternative at the end of the play. He has to kill himself because he cannot bear the guilt that he feels because of his actions. This shows that he has absorbed not just the courtly ways of noble Europeans but also the deeper Christian sensibility of that culture. Iago, on the other hand, is a very bad character who enjoys a high status in his own society. Superficially Iago is Christian, but underneath he is manipulative and cynical, obsessed with wealth and glory rather than any morals or high ideals. It is Iago’s jealousy and hatred which causes him to meddle in Othello’s relationship with Desdemona.
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