Iago's Jealousy

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Character Analysis Iago is without a doubt the most complicated character in Othello. He is evil, manipulative, ruthless, vengeful, and dangerously ambitious. The audience is originally introduced to Iago in the first scene of the play. He talks about his jealousy for Othello’s position as Lieutenant General, and discusses with a comrade, Roderigo, the reasons why he is better suited for the job than Othello. The audience is alerted that Iago may not be what he seems when he simply announces, “I am not what I am” (Shakespeare 53). Notably, this is a twist on Exodus 3.14, where God says, “I am what I am.” Here, for the first time, Iago is aligned with evil. When speaking with Othello in the next scene, he also swears to Janus, Roman god of…show more content…
He says it best himself, “Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on” (Shakespeare 197). As hypocritical as it may be, this is the message that Shakespeare intends to provide through Iago’s malicious character. My favorite scene of the play is the finale, Act Five Scene Two. The whole play has led up to this moment, and the intensity is unparalleled. As is typical for Shakespeare’s tragedies, the finale begins with an untimely murder. In this case, Desdemona is victim to strangulation by her jealous husband, led to rage and madness by Iago’s manipulation. The bloodshed could potentially have ended there, if not for Emilia’s entrance and Desdemona’s crying, “Oh, falsely, falsely murdered… A guiltless death I die” upon her discovery (Shakespeare 337). Emilia confronts Othello and reveals the truth: Iago has manufactured the entire story to achieve this very purpose. A bloodthirsty Iago murders Emilia in the moments immediately following her confession, but he is too late. Othello, overcome by grief and guilt, kills himself. Iago escapes, carrying with him the message that jealous rage can never truly be overcome, should it be allowed to fester and progress to such a
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