Importance Of Iago's Soliloquies In Othello Essay

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Iago is arguable one of Shakespeare’s most complex villains. On first reading his character seems to be one of unadulterated evil and malice. We soon see that he is not just immoral, but amoral; he does not seem to have a conscience at all. He lies, steals and murders to get his way. This is especially highlighted in the final scene where he shows no remorse for his actions. His motives seem uncertain; we are given a few different ones, and none of them concrete. The main seems to be Othello giving the position of lieutenant to Cassio, when Iago feels he himself is better suited for the post. If this was the case, Iago could have stopped at orchestrating the demotion of Cassio in order to take his position as lieutenant. However he follows through with his plan to defame Desdemona and destroy Othello. This suggests to the audience that he has other motives. Iago not only takes Casio’s position as lieutenant, but we see him take Desdemona’s in the twisted vows, reminiscent of marriage vows, in Act 3 Scene 3. Shakespeare cleverly picked Iago’s name to support this. The name comes from Spanish and Welsh origins, meaning ‘he who supplants’. Iago’s soliloquies give us a real insight into his twisted mind, and a deeper comprehension of his character. His first major soliloquy is at the end of Act 1, Scene 3. It is here that we learn of another motive for his heinous plot. Iago believes “bewixt my sheet He’s [Othello] done my office”, meaning Othello has had sexual relations with his wife, Emilia. Iago’s pride has been severely bruised, he now feels displaced in his private life by Othello and in his working life by Cassio. Reading on in the play, Othello seems to be a very moral character, a complete contrast to Iago. We see how in love Othello is with Desdemona and as an audience we find it very hard to believe that this is true, Othello would never do such a thing.

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