Research Paper 2nd draft
“There are a million theories to Iago's motivations, but I believed that Iago was once a good soldier, a great man's man to have around, a bit of a laugh, who feels betrayed, gets jealous of his friend, wants to mess it up for him, enjoys causing him pain, makes a choice to channel all his creative energy into the destruction of this human being, and becomes completely addicted to the power he wields over him. I didn't want to play him as initially malevolent. He's not the Devil. He's you or me feeling jealous and not being able to control our feelings.”
This quote is from Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic, by Andy Serkis. He played Iago in 2002 at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, England. Andy is wrong. Why is it that Iago, the antagonist in Shakespeare’s Othello, is so good at what he does? What motivates him? Shakespeare has written his character Iago as the perfect stereotypical sociopath. In fact, the play Othello could be used as a case study in a psychology class. When one reads down the list of sociopathic traits Iago has them all; he is a sociopath to the nth degree. Some including Othello, would argue that Iago is the devil incarnate. Othello, himself states “that thou be’st a devil, I cannot kill thee.” He then stabs Iago but only wounds him, showing that he thinks that Iago is the devil. In Elizabethan society he could be labeled a demon, or influenced by the devil if not the devil himself. Even if he is only a sociopath, there are many similarities between sociopaths and devilish doings. Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge ( 1772-1834)saw Iago’s worst side and writes “a being next to the devil, only not quite the devil” He calls Iago’s behavior “motiveless malignity”.
A trait that stands out is Iago’s ability to think out and plot what seemingly will be a perfect plan. As a sociopath he is a master actor since he is lacking in true emotion. Actually their lack of emotion would...