Iago As A Sociopath In Shakespeare's Othello

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Shakespeare’s Sociopath It would be comforting to live in a world where everyone, even the evil, had a sense of goodness deep within, but unfortunately this is not the case. For sociopaths especially, it’s quite the opposite. Iago, the devil behind all evil in William Shakespeare’s play Othello, also ironically known as “honest Iago” by other characters, is possibly one of the most notorious and dangerous villains known to man. As his plans develop in front of us, no matter how baffling, we watch helplessly they carry out, destroying everything and everyone around him. Perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of this character is that it is only the audience and Iago himself who are aware of his actual identity. For the unsuspecting characters,…show more content…
While a normal person is usually unstable or jittery when they experience the intense feeling of an adrenaline rush, sociopaths are cool and collected. This contributes to their “need for excitement” as listed on Dr. Robert Hare’s psychopathy checklist, which is used to evaluate individuals demonstrating psychopathic behavior (34). Sociopaths like to live on the edge and their need for the feeling associated with this lifestyle is excessive. Consequently, sociopaths become easily bored. It’s no coincidence that we are unable to find Iago in the midst of doing anything remotely dull throughout the play. One of Iago’s plans is to get Othello to eavesdrop while he talks to Cassio. From Othello’s perspective, this conversation sounds as if it is about Desdemona when in reality it’s about Bianca, whom Cassio finds humorous. To put this into picture, Iago conveys that, “As he shall smile, Othello shall go mad. And his unbookish jealousy must construe Poor Cassio’s smiles, gestures, and light behavior Quite in the wrong,” (4.1. 102-105). Othello could easily find out the truth in this scene if he had heard the correct use of the names of Bianca and Desdemona, although Iago skillfully times and distances both his and Cassio’s voices so that there is no misconception. Everything Iago does is so risky that his plans could easily fall apart if only the other characters would have more communication with each other. This kind of risky business is what Iago enjoys and seemingly can’t get enough of. Hare explains that sociopaths like Iago are rarely seen doing anything boring or that require long periods of concentration (62). They are constantly on the move in order to get their fix of

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