Character Analysis of Iago From Shakespeare's Othello

According to the great English essayist and scholar William Hazlitt, the character of Iago from William Shakespeare's masterpiece Othello "is one of the supererogations of Shakespeare's genius," due the fact that Iago's "villainy is without a sufficient motive" (345). Othello is one of the four great tragedies written during Shakespeare's period of despair when the bard seemed to be concerned with the struggle of good over evil. Iago, the villain in Othello, is perhaps the most sadistic and consummately evil character in all English literature and his eventual downfall illustrates the triumph of love over hate, a key theme in many of Shakespeare's plays.

Iago, an ensign serving under Othello, the Moorish commander of the armed forces of Venice, is undoubtedly the most interesting and perplexing character in Othello. This is supported not only by what he says in the play but also through his actions, both of which enable him to skillfully manipulate those in his orbit in order to boost his huge ego and propel him closer to his personal, evil goals. As the consummate villain, Iago serves as the primary driving force in the play which inevitably directs the other characters towards their...

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