Iago Motivation In Othello

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In his play Othello, William Shakespeare portrays evil through his character Iago. From the beginning, Iago deeply dislikes Othello and wants him to suffer. The readers find out that because of this hatred, Iago plans to ruin Othello. Iago plots to use many innocent people in order to gain the revenge he so badly desires. At the end of Act II, scene i, Iago’s soliloquy reveals his character motivation and plan for revenge through the use of foreshadowing and ominous diction. To begin, Shakespeare includes character motivation in the passage to give the reader a better understanding of Iago. Early on in the soliloquy, Iago reveals that he believes Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia, and that this thought deeply enrages him. He states,…show more content…
Iago informs the audience that “nothing can or shall content my soul/ Till I am evened with him, wife for wife;/ Or failing so, yet that I put the Moor/ At least into a jealousy so strong/ That judgement cannot cure” (326-330). This is exactly what happens throughout the rest of the play. Iago stops at nothing, killing anyone in his way, to get revenge against Othello. When he talks about being even “wife for wife,” this is foreshadowing for Desdemona’s involvement in Iago’s plan. Also, Iago putting Othello into “a deep jealousy that judgement cannot cure” is foreshadowing for the end of the play, when Iago drives Othello to become so jealous that he acts against his own character and morals to kill his wife, the person he loves most. Iago also mentions involving Cassio in his plan. He says, “I’ll have our Michael Cassio on the hip,/ Abuse him to the Moor in the right garb,/... Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me/ For making him egregiously an ass” (333-337). This foreshadows the part of Iago’s plan where he tricks Cassio into looking guilty, and makes Othello suspicious of Cassio by having a coy demeanor. He is also ultimately referred to by Othello as “honest Iago” throughout the play, when all he does is make Othello believe things that are not true. Lastly, Iago foreshadows his own downfall when he says, “Tis here, but yet confused./ Knavery’s…show more content…
Specifically, Shakespeare utilizes ominous sounding words to unveil Iago’s evil intentions. Towards the end of his speech, Iago imagines his future glory after he ruins Othello. Iago states that he plans to benefit from making Othello “egregiously an ass” (337). These harsh words that Iago chooses to disclose only to the readers show his malicious intentions towards a better outcome for himself, all while making Othello appear a fool. This clearly shows his deep desire for revenge, as well as how he plans on attaining it. Not only does Iago reveal his plan for revenge through ominous words, he also reveals what is motivating him to get it. After hearing the rumor of Othello sleeping with Emilia, Iago becomes extremely disturbed. He declares that “the thought whereof/…gnaw my inwards;” (324-325). By revealing this- and specifically using the word “gnaw”- Iago offers a deeper understanding of how much the alleged affair bothers him. The readers now understand that Iago’s intentions are to reciprocate the wretched feelings of disgust and pain that he feels himself onto Othello. The ominous and passionate words Iago uses while unveiling his scheme allow the audience to further understand his motivation and plans. Iago’s insightful soliloquy in Act II, scene i reveals his character motivation and plan for revenge through the effective use of foreshadowing
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