Iago's Motives In Othello Essay

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Ryan Alexander Ms. Sheridan IB English 4 HL: Period 1 15 December 2015 A Freudian Analysis on Iago’s motives in Othello Out of all of Shakespeare’s antagonistic characters, Othello’s Iago maintains a unique complexity in his motives in that he never elaborates on them past the intention of taking Othello down. Even with compelling arguments that Iago’s plan manifests as revenge out of jealousy, there is much speculation about why he is jealous. With sexuality appearing as a major theme, psychoanalysis provides explanations to why Iago seeks revenge on Othello and why he does not reveal his motivations. The ambiguity of Iago’s motives enables thorough speculation from many literary lenses. A Freudian reading of Iago’s motivation to destroy Othello…show more content…
Iago worries that rumors of Emilia having an affair will unmask Iago’s sexual shortcomings as a homosexual. Iago reacts so intensely to the “thought that ‘twixt [his] sheets ‘Has done [his] office” because it uncovers that Othello’s heterosexuality develops him as more suitable than Iago to please Emilia (I.iii.430-431). To be cuckolded, especially by a person of color, signals to society that Iago cannot keep Emilia happy because he cannot satisfy her. Rumors of Othello having an affair with Emilia attacks Iago’s masculinity and role as a husband; public awareness of his inadequacy would lead to Iago’s outed sexuality. Iago and Emilia’s relationship becomes impersonal to the degree that Iago centers his interactions with Emilia only to destroy Othello. Iago tasks Emilia with stealing the handkerchief that Othello’s mother “ bid...when [Othello’s] fate would have [him] wived, to give it to her” (III.iv.75-76). The handkerchief symbolizes Othello’s love for Desdemona, giving explanation to why Iago envies it; Iago yearns for the handkerchief because he yearns Othello’s love. Iago stages a cuckold as revenge to emphasize that his vendetta exists as a matter of love. Displaying a capability of physical violence through mauling Roderigo and Cassio, Iago’s plan for Othello involves heartbreak instead of physical altercation to emphasize Iago’s desire for Othello to experience similar emotional turmoil that Iago undergoes. To Iago, Emilia is nothing more than a pawn that he utilizes to advance toward Othello. By requesting Emilia to obtain Desdemona’s handkerchief, Iago displays his apathy toward his wife. Iago proves to be more careless toward his wife after he exclaims she is a “villainous whore” and kills her for unveiling Iago’s command that she retrieve the handkerchief for him

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