Character Analysis Of Iago In Shakespeare's Othello

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Villains prevail throughout all forms of literature, thought to be characters whose evil actions influence the driving plot. Most notorious of villains is Iago, a character who seeks to ruin marriages and reputations with no clear motive — other than it is simply his wicked nature. In the first Act, Roderigo complains to Iago, stating that he lives only for Desdemona’s love and it isn’t in his “virtue” to stop his love for her. Iago, of course, believes this to be preposterous, who then goes on to explain how love can be controlled, just as easily as one tends to a garden. In Othello Shakespeare demonstrates Iago’s artistry as a manipulator and as a villain through the speech in Act I scene iii, revealing Iago as the driving force of the play.
Iago argues that he has the ability to control his emotions and desires, presenting his character as a master over his own thoughts and feelings. The speech begins with a rhetorical question with Iago claiming that virtue, our natures, is “a fig,” essentially stating that such a virtue doesn’t truly exist. Already Iago is establishing himself as a nefarious, or at least unheroic, character as he holds himself to no moral code. Moreover, Iago’s ambitious character is further exemplified by the analogy he uses, claiming that our “bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners” (I. iii. 320-321). Through the descriptive metaphor, Iago presents himself as infallible to emotions, as he believes that he has strict control over his
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