Iago and Opposition

The name Iago comes from Latin, "Iacobus," meaning "one who trips up another and takes his place." This name also belongs to the most important character in Shakespeare's Othello and one of the most wonderfully evil characters of all time. The character Iago is more than worthy of his name, for in the process of "tripping up" the character Cassio in order to gain Cassio's lieutenancy, Iago takes extreme measures to take revenge on Othello, the general who first deprived him of the lieutenancy. In taking these measures, Iago wreaks havoc on the lives of the characters and creates a reign of disorder. Thematically, this disorder is manifested in the juxtaposition of opposing sides: honesty versus deceit and appearance versus reality, black versus white and good versus evil, and God versus the Devil. Iago exemplifies the theme of opposition and contradiction and casts an aura over the play which reflects this theme with his paradoxical statement, "I am not what I am." (Act I; i)

This statement is significant in many ways, one being that it reflects the theme of contradiction within the play. It is also significant because it directly repeals God's statement to Moses in Exodus III:...

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