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The character and significance of lago in william shakespeares othello

Origin[ edit ] While no English translation of Cinthio was available in Shakespeare's lifetime, it is possible Shakespeare knew the Italian original, Gabriel Chappuy's 1584 French translation, or an English translation in manuscript. Cinthio's tale may have been based on an actual incident occurring in Venice about 1508. In Cinthio's tale, for example, the ensign suffers an unrequited lust for the Moor's wife, Desdemona, which then drives his vengeance.

Desdemona dies in an entirely different manner in Cinthio's tale; the Moor commissions his ensign to bludgeon her to death with a sand-filled stocking.

  1. The two murderers escape detection.
  2. Many critics have also noted that lago is propelled to revenge by feelings of frustration and loathing; he can't tolerate the very sight of those who have status and happiness Cassio and Othello.
  3. He convinces everyone that he is honest. In gruesome detail, Cinthio follows each blow, and, when she is dead, the Moor and his ensign place her lifeless body upon her bed, smash her skull , and then cause the cracked ceiling above the bed to collapse upon her, giving the impression the falling rafters caused her death.
  4. Some critics have suggested that Iago is a cold-blooded creature by birth. In gruesome detail, Cinthio follows each blow, and, when she is dead, the Moor and his ensign place her lifeless body upon her bed, smash her skull , and then cause the cracked ceiling above the bed to collapse upon her, giving the impression the falling rafters caused her death.

In gruesome detail, Cinthio follows each blow, and, when she is dead, the Moor and his ensign place her lifeless body upon her bed, smash her skulland then cause the cracked ceiling above the bed to collapse upon her, giving the impression the falling rafters caused her death. The two murderers escape detection.

The Moor misses his wife greatly, however, and comes to loathe the sight of his ensign.

He demotes him, and refuses to have him in his company. The ensign then seeks revenge by disclosing to "the squadron leader" the tale's Cassio counterpartthe Moor's involvement in Desdemona's death. The two men denounce the Moor to the Venetian Seignory. The Moor is arrested, transported from Cyprus to Veniceand torturedbut refuses to admit his guilt.

He is condemned to exile ; Desdemona's relatives eventually execute him. The ensign escapes any prosecution in Desdemona's death, but engages in other crimes and dies after being tortured. At the beginning of the play, Iago claims to have been unfairly passed over for promotion to the rank of Othello's lieutenant in favour of Michael Cassio.

Villainous Role of Iago in Othello

Iago plots to manipulate Othello into demoting Cassio, and thereafter to bring about the downfall of Othello himself. He has an ally, Roderigowho assists him in his plans in the mistaken belief that after Othello is gone, Iago will help Roderigo earn the affection of Othello's wife, Desdemona. After Iago engineers a drunken brawl to ensure Cassio's demotion in Act 2he sets to work on his second scheme: This plan occupies the final three acts of the play.

Othello and Iago He manipulates his wife Emilia, Desdemona's lady-in-waiting, into taking from Desdemona a handkerchief that Othello had given her; he then tells Othello that he had seen it in Cassio's possession. Once Othello flies into a jealous rage, Iago tells him to hide and look on while he Iago talks to Cassio.

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Iago then leads Othello to believe that a bawdy conversation about Cassio's mistress, Biancais in fact about Desdemona. Mad with jealousy, Othello orders Iago to kill Cassio, promising to make him lieutenant in return. Iago then engineers a fight between Cassio and Roderigo in which the latter is killed by Iago himself, double-crossing his allybut the former merely wounded. Iago's plan appears to succeed when Othello kills Desdemona, who is innocent of Iago's charges.

Soon afterwards, however, Emilia brings Iago's treachery to light, and Iago kills her in a fit of rage before being arrested. He remains famously reticent when pressed for an explanation of his actions before he is arrested: What you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word.

Description of character[ edit ] Iago is one of Shakespeare's most sinister villainsoften considered such because of the unique trust that Othello places in him, which he betrays while maintaining his reputation for honesty and dedication.

Shakespeare contrasts Iago with Othello's nobility and integrity. With 1,097 lines, Iago has more lines in the play than Othello himself.

Iago is a Machiavellian schemer and manipulator, as he is often referred to as "honest Iago", displaying his skill at deceiving other characters so that not only do they not suspect him, but they count on him as the person most likely to be truthful. Bradley said that " evil has nowhere else been portrayed with such mastery as in the evil character of Iago", [6] and also states that he "stands supreme among Shakespeare's evil characters because the greatest intensity and subtlety of imagination have gone into his making.

For, "Iago dates his maturity, as he considers it, his ability to understand the world, from the age at which he recognized every remark to be personally pointed. One only who lacks inner assurance and is so constantly on guard against any hint of his inferiority could so confess himself".

  1. After Iago engineers a drunken brawl to ensure Cassio's demotion in Act 2 , he sets to work on his second scheme.
  2. Iago's relationship with Roderigo is driven by callous greed for gold and money, and when Roderigo's purse becomes risky, he kills him.
  3. Shakespeare contrasts Iago with Othello's nobility and integrity. We see that Iago has tried to show 'brotherly love' to Othello, which is the most damaging because the emotionally weak Othello needs exactly that friendly support when his beloved wife seems to him to have betrayed him and disregarded his passionate love.
  4. He has an ally, Roderigo , who assists him in his plans in the mistaken belief that after Othello is gone, Iago will help Roderigo earn the affection of Othello's wife, Desdemona.
  5. We find the actual reality of his plans and his personality only in his soliloquies.