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Encyclopedia > Iago
Othello and Iago.

Iago is a fictional character in William Shakespeare's play Othello. Iago is a given name, a cognate of James and Jacob in the Spanish language. ... Image File history File links Othello_6_lg. ... Image File history File links Othello_6_lg. ... Alice, a fictional character based on a real character from the work of Lewis Carroll. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... For other uses, see Othello (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Character overview

Iago is General Othello's most trusted advisor. 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. Iago plots to make Othello demote Cassio, and thereafter to bring about the downfall of Othello himself. After Iago engineers a drunken brawl to ensure Cassio’s demotion (in Act 2), he sets to work on his second scheme: leading Othello to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio. This plan occupies the final three acts of the play.


In the final scene, Iago’s plan appears to succeed when Othello kills Desdemona, who is innocent of Iago's charges. Soon afterwards, however, Iago’s treachery is brought to light by his wife, Emilia; Iago is placed under arrest. He remains famously reticent when pressed for an explanation of his malicious conduct:

Demand me nothing. What you know, you know.
From this time forth I never will speak word

These are his final lines before being taken away for torture and presumable execution. For other uses, see Torture (disambiguation). ...


Iago is generally regarded as one of Shakepeare’s most malevolent creations. A. C. Bradley, a renowned critic of Shakepeare, claimed that "evil has nowhere else been portrayed with such mastery as in the evil character of Iago."[1] In particular, the mystery surrounding Iago’s actual motives has continued to intrigue readers and fuel scholarly debate. For other uses, see Evil (disambiguation). ...


Description of character

Iago is one of Shakespeare's most sinister villains, often considered such because of the unique trust that Othello places in him, which he betrays while maintaining his reputation of honesty and dedication. Shakespeare contrasts Iago with Othello's nobility and integrity. At 1097 lines, he speaks more lines in the play than Othello, more than any other non-title characters in Shakespeare (with the arguable exception of Falstaff, if his lines from both the first and second halves of Henry IV are combined). Iago 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. Bad guy redirects here. ... Adolf Schrödter: Falstaff and his page Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare as a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V. A fat, vainglorious, and cowardly knight, Falstaff leads the apparently wayward Prince Hal into trouble, but he... Title page of the first quarto (1598) Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare. ... Henry IV part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare, first published as part of Shakespeares First Folio. ...


Iago fits into the malcontent character type because of his bitter and cynical view of the world around him. Iago cites suspicion that his wife has been unfaithful to him with Othello or bitterness that Othello passed him over for a big promotion, but many interpretations of the play include the idea that Iago is a representation of pure evil or the devil. Mal-Content is a periodical which reviews art, music, and culture. ... This article is about the concept of Satan. ...


When Iago utters, "I am not what I am,” he foreshadows to the audience his use of deception to engineer Othello's downfall. The line also indicates Iago's sinister nature as it is the direct opposite of a biblical statement attributed to God, who said "I am that I am." This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...


Motives

Iago has been described as a "motiveless malignity" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This reading would seem to suggest that Iago, much like Don John in Much Ado About Nothing or Aaron in Titus Andronicus, wreaks havoc on the other characters' lives for no ulterior purpose. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (October 21, 1772 – July 25, 1834) (pronounced ) was an English poet, critic, and philosopher who was, along with his friend William Wordsworth, one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. ... Title page of the first quarto (1600) Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare. ... Title page of the first quarto edition (1594) The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeares earliest tragedy. ...


Possible analyzed motives include:

  1. Failure to be promoted
  2. Racism
  3. Jealousy (of Emilia, of Desdemona or of Othello)
  4. Sexual infidelity
  5. Insecurity
  6. Supreme intellect unregulated by empathy or conscience (sociopathy)
  7. Sadism
  8. Unacknowledged homosexual feelings for Othello[2]

In the exposition scene in Act 1, scene 1, Iago himself states that his prime motivation is bitterness at having been passed for promotion to the top post. His racist disgust at seeing "a black ram tupping a white ewe", and his supreme confidence in his ability to destroy Othello and escape detection all present potential motives. In a later soliloquy, it is revealed that Iago suspects his wife of infidelity with both Othello and Cassio. Ultimately, none of these motives are identified as primary, so it is impossible to determine conclusively which applies, if indeed any of them do in isolation, or which is most important among them. A promotion is the advancement of rank or position in an organizational hierarchy system. ... Manifestations Slavery Racial profiling Lynching Hate speech Hate crime Genocide (examples) Ethnocide Ethnic cleansing Pogrom Race war Religious persecution Gay bashing Blood libel Paternalism Police brutality Movements Policies Discriminatory Race / Religion / Sex segregation Apartheid Redlining Internment Anti-discriminatory Emancipation Civil rights Desegregation Integration Equal opportunity Counter-discriminatory Affirmative action Racial... Jealous redirects here. ... Look up infidelity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Psychopathy is defined in psychiatry and clinical psychology as a condition characterized by lack of empathy[1][2] or conscience, and poor impulse control[3][4] or manipulative behaviors. ... Sadistic personality disorder was never formally admitted into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM); nevertheless, some researchers and theorists continue to use its criteria. ... Homosexuality refers to sexual interaction and / or romantic attraction between individuals of the same sex. ... Look up exposition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Soliloquy is an audible oratory or conversation with oneself. ...


The greatest problem that Iago presents as a character is reconciling his malignant, manipulative behavior within the play, with the high regard that he has earned from Othello, Cassio, and others, who trust him implicitly (to their undoing). How a man as bitter, cynical and amoral as Iago could ever become so trusted is a mystery that the play never explains.


Andy Serkis, who portrayed Iago in a London production, wrote in his memoir Gollum: How We Made Movie Magic, that: "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." Andy Serkis (born 20 April 1964) is an English actor and director best known for his work with Peter Jackson. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... As a literary genre, a memoir (from the French: mémoire from the Latin memoria, meaning memory) forms a subclass of autobiography, although it is an older form of writing. ...


Iago only reveals his true nature in his soliloquies, and in occasional asides. Elsewhere, he is charismatic and friendly, and the advice he offers to both Cassio and Othello is superficially sound; as Iago himself remarks:
'And what's he then that says I play the Villain?' (II.iii.310)
It is the dramatic irony, created by the audience's knowledge of his wicked intentions contrasted with the other characters' trust in him, that drives the play. For other uses, see Charisma (disambiguation). ... Adolf Hitler - an example of visual irony Irony is a form of speech in which the real meaning is concealed or contradicted by the words used. ...


Actors who have played Iago

Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh as Othello and Iago, respectively.
Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh as Othello and Iago, respectively.

Lawrence Fishbourne and Kenneth Brannagh as Othello and Iago. ... Lawrence Fishbourne and Kenneth Brannagh as Othello and Iago. ... Laurence John Fishburne III[1] (born July 30, 1961) is an American Academy Award-nominated, Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor of screen and stage, as well as playwright, director, and producer. ... Kenneth Charles Branagh (born December 10, 1960) is an Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated Northern Irish-born actor and film director. ... For other uses, see Othello (disambiguation). ... Saif Ali Khan (Hindi: सैफ़ अली ख़ान, Urdu: سیف علی خان; IPA born 16 August 1970 in New Delhi, India) is National Film Award winning Indian actor who stars in Bollywood films. ... Edwin Booth as Hamlet. ... Kenneth Charles Branagh (born December 10, 1960) is an Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated Northern Irish-born actor and film director. ... Colm Feore (born August 22, 1958, at Boston, Massachusetts) is an Canadian-American actor raised in Canada of Irish and Italian extraction. ... José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintron, known as José Ferrer (January 8, 1912-January 26, 1992), was an actor and director, born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. ... Frank Finlay, CBE (born 6 August 1926 in Farnworth, in Bolton, Lancashire, England) is a British stage, film and television actor of English, Irish and Scottish descent. ... Robert William Bob Hoskins Jr. ... Sir Henry Irving, as Hamlet, in an 1893 illustration from The Idler magazine John Henry Brodribb (February 6, 1838 – October 13, 1905), knighted in 1895, as Sir Henry Irving, was one of the most famous stage actors of the Victorian era. ... Ian McDiarmid (born August 11, 1944) is a Tony Award-winning Scottish actor born in Carnoustie. ... Tim McInnerny as Lord Percy Percy in Blackadder II. Tim McInnerny (stress on the penultimate syllable of McInnerny) was born September 18, 1956 and is a British actor. ... Sir Ian Murray McKellen, CBE (born May 25, 1939) is an English stage and screen actor, the recipient of a Tony Award and two Oscar nominations. ... Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Liev Schreiber (born October 4, 1967) is a Tony Award-winning American actor. ... Andy Serkis (born 20 April 1964) is an English actor and director best known for his work with Peter Jackson. ... Christopher Walken (born March 31, 1943) is an Academy Award-winning American film and theatre actor. ...

Other versions of the character

In looser adaptations of Othello, the "Iago" character is typically given a different name, but has been more or less the same as Shakespeare's. Prominent examples include Christopher Eccleston as "Ben Jago" (a corrupt police detective) in a 2002 adaptation set in a London police department, and Josh Hartnett as "Hugo" (a steroid-addicted teenager) in 2001's O, which sets the play in a contemporary high school. Christopher Eccleston (born 16 February 1964) is an English stage, television and film actor. ... Joshua Daniel Hartnett (born July 21, 1978) is an American actor. ... This article is about the chemical family of steroids. ... O is a 2001 teen film version of William Shakespeares Othello. ...


The Name

There is good reason to suppose that Shakespeare intended this character to have a two-syllable name, spelled and pronounced 'Jago', the Spaniard. For a start,that is how it is rendered in the 4th Folio (1685), when the letter 'J' was no longer given as 'I'.(King Iohn', 'Romeo and Ivliet', 'Ivlius Caesar',etc). This is a modern mistake, since the name is 'Jago' also in Rowe's edition of 1709, Pope's (1723), and Dryden. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...


See also

For other uses, see Othello (disambiguation). ... Othello is the title character of William Shakespeares Othello. ... Brabantio is a character in the play Othello by William Shakespeare. ... Desdemona by Frederic Leighton Desdemona is a fictional character in the play Othello by William Shakespeare. ... Emilia is a character in William Shakespeares Othello. ... Michael Cassio is a fictional character in William Shakespeares tragedy Othello. ... Bianca is a character in William Shakespeares Othello, whose name is Italian for white. She is the mistress of Michael Cassio, but is used by Shakespeare as more than just that. ... For other uses, see Othello (disambiguation). ...

References

  1. ^ Bradley, A. C., [1904] (1974), Shakesperean Tragedy, Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, p. 169.
  2. ^ Psychoanalytical Society

External Links

The Romantic Iago


  Results from FactBites:
 
Othello - Analysis of Iago (548 words)
Iago is consumed with envy and plots to steal the position he feels he most justly deserves.
However, it is not that Iago pushes aside his conscience to commit these acts, but that he lacks a conscience to begin with.
Iago is a perfect example of "Shakespeare's villain." His amorality and cynicism give, what would be a very dull character, life.
SparkNotes: Othello: Plot Overview (1766 words)
Iago says he hates Othello, who recently passed him over for the position of lieutenant in favor of the inexperienced soldier Michael Cassio.
Iago assures Roderigo that as soon as Desdemona’s “blood is made dull with the act of sport,” she will lose interest in Othello and seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere (II.i.
Iago is ecstatic when Emilia gives him the handkerchief, which he plants in Cassio’s room as “evidence” of his affair with Desdemona.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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