Examine the Presentation of Either Othello, Desdemona or Iago in Act 1 of « Othello ».

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There is no doubt in « Othello » as to the role Shakespeare has given Iago, he is the villain, masterful at deceit he generates most evil in the play. The clever soldier, his incredible acting allows him to be two or three completely different people. During most of the Act the audience finds itself constantly trying to find a motive for Iago’s actions but finds none that can justify what he is about to do. What does seem to come back again and again is his view on women which he sees as sex rapacious and a danger to his machiavellian plans.

Scene 1 offers us a good preview as to what Iago is going to do for the rest of the Act and ultimately the rest of the play. Our first view of Iago is of a hard deceitful man who says « Sblood » as opposed to Roderigo’s « Tush! », we see already his powers of deception as he explains how he is even worse off than Roderigo, his furious language: « A fellow almost damned in a fair wife » manages to convince the intellectual Roderigo who is presented along with Cassio in contrast to Iago. They are polite, educated, fairly wealthy and can not imagine that something as evil and motiveless as Iago exits. Iago has not only lost his promotion but also his hero in Othello. We sense the irony in « We cannot all be masters, nor all masters can be truly followed » and see that what Iago says he will do to Othello he is doing Roderigo, he is manipulating him. He gets a bit carried away in his speech about how he hates the Moor to the extent that some parts are hard to understand: « Were I the Moor, I would not be Iago » which might mean that if he was the Moor he would not like to be followed by Iago (himself) so that we see that although he might be exaggerating to justify taking more of Roderigo’s money he really hates Othello. We see how he enjoys playing the part of the villain and already wonder why Roderigo can’t see that Iago has

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