Iago and Claudius

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Shakespeare is a master at providing an audience with keen insight into the human psyche through the actions and words of his heroes, and even more so, his villains. Contained in Shakespearian plays are characters that are considered archetypes for much of today’s basis of judging a person malicious or malevolent. Two of the most infamous villains in all of Shakespearian literature are Iago in Othello and Claudius in Hamlet. Both Claudius and Iago are driven by immoral ambitions, such as jealousy. Unlike many of the "evil villains" in literature, Iago and Claudius are far more complex than may be seen at first. Through simple comparative analysis, one can see many similarities between the antagonist Iago of Othello and Claudius of Hamlet. Iago and Claudius, although driven by different ambitions, are both evil villains in the sense that they have a specific, designated target in mind and will stop at nothing until their target is annihilated. Both of these characters commit murder directly and indirectly. Iago is often classified as the embodiment of pure evil to the farthest extent capable of being reached by human. Both Claudius and Iago plot against, torture, and cause the downfall of other characters in their respective stories to create and upkeep a boastful reputation. Both characters know that what they are doing is considerably wrong, but only Claudius feels any remorse for his crimes. They both recognize in soliloquy what they are doing and even discuss with themselves further planning. Iago manipulates all the crucial components of his plot with ease, while Claudius on the other hand is discontent and unhappy with the events taking place. Both characters cause much mental disorder within their protagonist, all very unhealthy changes. Another common aspect of Iago's and Claudius's treacherous character is their use of women to further their

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