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The Tragedy of Othello

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Iago: Man with a plan

In the Shakespearean play, The tragedy of Othello, we see many characters emerge that are vital for the progression of the play. One such character goes by the name of iago. My opinions of iago vary greatly between each scene whether he's being a deceiving, backstabbing friend, whereas in another he's being a friend trying to help someone out of a tough situation.

In the first act, my opinion about Iago was very negative. Based on very strong evidence, I knew iago was not to be trusted and was going to cause nothing but trouble through the play. In a conversation between Iago and Roderigo he states "I follow him to serve my turn upon him" (I: i.40). In this scene, Iago is talking about Othello. This quote means I'm going to continue to be his friend so I can get revenge. Iago is so hatful against Othello because Othello made Michael cassio his lieutenant when he has known iago longer. Iago is very serious about his revenge, he says to Othello "come, sir, I am here for you" (I:ii.58) to continue to deceive Othello into thinking he is his trusty, helpful friend. With this happening in the first scene, from the start I knew iago wasn't to be trusted and was going to play a vital role in the downfall of Othello.

Another common trait I saw in iago was how opinionated he was throughout the play. In his mind whatever he thought, was how it was going to be. He was able to persuade many of his friends such as Rodrigo, that Othello was a bad person and never to be trusted. Another important key thing to recognize is how iago mooches off of Roderigo. He is able to make Roderigo do things for him without giving anything in return. For example, he convinces Roderigo to go to Desdemona's dad barbantio and tell him of her relationship with a moor. This was a personal gain for iago only because he wanted Othello in trouble, even though Roderigo saw it as a friend helping a friend with a girl he loves.

However, we see a change in iago when he is talking Roderigo out of drowning himself in act 3 over a girl he loves. He says "no more drowning do you hear" (I: iii.373). I was surprised iago was actually being a good, helpful friend based on his past actions in act one and two. Although iago is nice to Roderigo, what seems to be friendly advice in the first two acts is simply iago making Roderigo do his dirty work; for iago is very manipulative and can persuade people like Roderigo very easily.

Overall, my opinion of iago is he is deceiving, untrustworthy, manipulative, and revengeful. However from certain key points in the book, I believe iago is a helpful friend to people who really needed it. From the many character that emerge in Othello, iago in my opinion is going to remain the "bad guy" throught the entire play.

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