As English Literature Coursework Othello

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Iago as the Hero of Othello  

Make an argument that Iago is the hero, not the villain of this play. Why could we look at him that way? If he is the hero, who does this cast as the villain and why? What values are important if Iago is the hero?

In the play "Othello", many can and would label Iago as a villain or even an/the enemy of the play. I'm not going to disagree or agree with anyone's opinion on whether Iago is the/an villain or not, because everybody has their own point of view. The purpose of me writing this paper is to prove that Iago is not a villain, well at least not a villain in the play "Othello".

Iago was the main character who caused all the destruction at the end of the play, however there was always some worries going along in the play because Othello was a black man and he was married to the young, very much younger than him, Desdemona. Who also is a white lady. Neither the less this essay is not about Othello and Desdemona. Iago had Othello believe that Cassio was having an affair with Desdemona. There isn't really any conclusion or reasoning for Iago's doings, perhaps besides the only reason which he knows. And that reason none of us know of. The only conclusion i can come up with on why Iago has done what he done is because he was looking out for himself. This reminds me of a saying i use to always hear. "Nothing is going to happen for yourself unless you make it happen yourself." I don't know if Iago knew what the outcome of his doings would be, which was death for him, but i do believe he did the things he did because he was looking out for himself.

Iago had to take things in his own hands and do what he felt was best. As i said before i truly don't believe he knew what the outcome would be because nobody wants death and i believe Iago did not want death. When i approached these thesis as of whether Iago can be consider a hero, i had/have a point that can base him as a hero but no for himself but for others. I don't know if that is the way i was suppose to approach the topic, but i do believe Iago was a hero. Iago was a hero towards himself i believe because he stuck with something he believed in. Even though his doings were wrong he still went through with them and the only thing that stop him from succeeding was death. But death is unbeatable so i still believe that Iago was a hero towards himself just for going through with a mission which could have been unworkable. He experienced near death situations multiple times with Othello nearly drowning him and Rodrigo nearly slicing his throat. And after all of this, what did Iago do? He did not quit. He did not give up. He continued with his mission that he chose to seek out which is what a real hero would do.

I also look at Iago as a hero towards Cassio. During the first stages of Iago's planning of Othello's downfall, his first procedure caused Cassio to lose his rank in the military. Iago hitched out a brawl with Cassio and another member of the military, after Cassio had a few alcohol beverages while also pleading he was not drunk. Iago spoke truth towards Othello as he arrived at the battle scene and Cassio suffered the penalty for fighting. Which was losing his rank in the military. Cassio was no longer Othello's officer.

My purpose in bringing up Cassio and his fighting is that after Iago's downfall and the arresting and death of Othello, Cassio became the military's General replacing Othello. If it wasn't for Iago's bad doings, Othello would have never killed his wife Desdemona, Cassio would have never lost his position as Officer nor would he have gain his new position as General, and Othello would have never committed suicide or losing his position as General.

Because all of the above mentioning's did occur, it allow Cassio to raise his rank in position, which i do believe he didn't assume would happen. Cassios promotion happened because of Iago, which is how i view him as a hero towards Cassio. Many can and would say that Iago was a villain, but because i view life as my quote says, "Doing stuff for yourself", i don't see him as a villain. He took it upon himself to go out and do what he felt was necessary for the necessary reasons, whether it was good or bad. I feel that if anybody can stick to something they believe in than that person is a hero in their own way. Whether it is studying for school, working a job, or causing destruction(not recommended) among others as Iago did, they are still a hero within because they stuck with there mission.

Iago has done some horrible things, but due to the fact that good things has resulted from his doings, i see Iago as a hero. Everyone may be entitled to their own opinion on how they view Iago. After all it is your own opinion.


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Iago and Othello         

In Shakespeare's Othello, the character Iago, Othello's lieutenant, is the cause of all the tragedy which comes to pass as the play progresses. Iago is the antagonist of the play, but rather than being the direct opponent to the tragic hero, Iago is a manipulator, opposing Othello not directly but through other characters whom he tricks into acting for him. In the first scene of the play, Iago gives the audience warning that he is not all that he seems when he says, "I am not what I am." (I,i,65) He is first seen in this scene appearing to help Roderigo, a suitor to Desdemona, who has run off with Othello, the Moorish general of the Venician army. Iago hates Othello for another reason. Instead of choosing him to be his lieutenant, Othello chose Cassio, another foreigner, and relegated Iago to the position of his ancient. When Roderigo asks why Iago continues to serve Othello, in spite of how the general has treated him, Iago replies, "I follow him to serve my turn upon him." (I,i,42) He goes on to give an example of how he intends to serve him, by acting like the perfect servant, while secretly enriching himself, and later says, "In following him, I follow but myself." (I,i,58) From this, one might think that he is still fairly straightforward in his plans, that he merely intends to betray Othello at some later date. However, in the third scene, he shows the audience his ability to manipulate people, when he convinces Roderigo to follow him to Cyprus and to bring all of his money, presumably to win back Desdemona. After Roderigo has left to do what Iago has suggested, Iago says, "Thus do I ever make my fool my purse." (I,iii,37 y9) Later, in Act IV, we find that Roderigo has been giving jewels to Iago to give to Desdemona, which Iago, it is implied, has sold for his own uses. Thus, it is seen that Iago is merely using Roderigo to further his own ends, just as he said he was only serving Othello to serve himself. Also at the end of the third scene, Iago sets forth his plan to take Cassio's position, by telling Othello that his lieutenant ". . . is too familiar with his wife." (I,iii,402) It also comes out in this speech that he suspects Othello of committing adultery with his wife. Near the end of the first scene of the second act, Iago convinces Roderigo, who was observing Cassio's enthusiastic greeting of Desdemona, that Cassio and Desdemona have something going on between them. Thus manipulating Roderigo through his passion for Desdemona, Iago convinces him to provoke Cassio to anger, so that the lieutenant will be discredited in Othello's eyes and Iago can take his position. At the end of this scene, he again makes reference to his role not being what it seems: "Knavery's plain face is never seen till us'd." (II,i,324) In the last scene, after Othello has killed Desdemona, all of Iago's schemes are revealed by his wife, who was his unwitting accomplice in his schemes. After she has betrayed him, he kills her and flees, only to be caught and brought to justice. Othello's flaw, as Iago pointed out, was that he was "… of a free and open nature,/That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,/And will as tenderly be led by the nose/As asses are." (I,iii,405-408) Thus, Iago's scheming and roleplaying character made it easy for him to manipulate Othello, which led to Othello's fall. From his actions in the play, one sees that Iago is a gifted manipulator of other people who uses underhanded schemes, manipulation of others, and betrayal at appropriate times. Thus, one could say that the whole play is a parable showing the "vile success" such tactics bring, and also showing the reward awaiting those who use them. Hence, Iago in Othello is a schemer and manipulator, who causes the deaths of all of the virtuous characters in the play while attempting to advance his position and revenge himself upon Othello for a rumoured affair with his wife. He is portrayed by Shakespeare as a completely unsympathetic character.

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