Iago as Antagonist Essay examples

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Iago the Antagonist

In William Shakespeare's play Othello, Iago is a soldier with hopes of being promoted to lieutenant. He becomes angry and vengeful when he is passed over for promotion. A less experienced soldier, Cassio, is promoted to lieutenant instead of Iago. This action triggers anger in Iago, and he takes out his anger on Othello. Iago desires to destroy Othello's life and marriage, even if others are hurt in the process. You learn about the dramatic contribution of the antagonistic character Iago, who through his manipulative and hypocritical qualities satisfied his unstoppable desire for revenge, and showed his constant deception of the entire cast. He seems to be aware of how those around him will act and react to certain events. Iago is a smart man who knows that he has to plan ahead in order to get to where he wants to be. Iago has a great role as the antagonist, and his actions facilitate the fall of Othello in every way possible. Iago’s role as the antagonist all begins with his hatred for Othello. Iago is a soldier who has fought beside Othello for several years, and has become his trusted advisor. At the beginning of the play, Iago claims to have been unfairly passed over for promotion to the rank of Othello's lieutenant in favor of Cassio (A.1, S.1, L. 23). Iago plots to manipulate Othello into demoting Cassio, and to bring about the downfall of Othello himself. He has Roderigo, who assists him in his plans in the mistaken belief that after Othello is gone, Iago will help Roderigo earn the affection of Othello's wife, Desdemona (A.2, S.1, L.224). After Iago starts a drunken fight to ensure Cassio’s demotion, he sets to work on his second scheme, leading Othello to believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio. He manipulates his wife Emilia, Desdemona's helper, into taking from Desdemona a handkerchief that Othello had given her. He then tells Othello that he had seen it in Cassio's possession (A.3, S.3, L.108). Once Othello flies into a jealous rage, Iago tells him to hide while he talks to Cassio. Iago then leads Othello to believe that a vulgar conversation about Cassio's mistress, Bianca, is in fact about Desdemona. Mad with jealousy, Othello orders Iago to kill Cassio, promising to make him lieutenant in return (A.4, S.1, L.55). Iago then starts a fight between Cassio and Roderigo in which Roderigo is killed, but left Cassio merely wounded. Iago’s plan appears to succeed when Othello kills Desdemona, who is innocent of Iago's charges. Soon afterwards, however, Emilia brings Iago’s treachery to light. He remains famously reticent when pressed for an explanation of his actions before he is arrested: "Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak word." Following Othello's suicide, Cassio, now in charge, condemns Iago to be imprisoned and tortured as punishment for his crimes. Iago’s role as the antagonist, aid in facilitating the fall of Othello Iago’s actions in the play, all facilitate the fall of Othello. He is jealous of Cassio's position and is determined to manipulate his way into it (A.1, S.2, L.391-394). Though Iago does not hate Cassio, he believes that Cassio is just another pawn that will help him get to the top. Iago tells the audience that, "Cassio's a proper man: let me see now; To get his place and to plume up my will/In double knavery" (A.1, S.3, L.385-387), proving that he is plotting to get Cassio's job. Iago knows exactly what he has to accomplish in order to manipulate people's thoughts and have control over any situation that may arise. To further his plan, Iago attempts to get Cassio drunk. He is aware that it would not take very much to do so, and he plans on using this to his advantage. Iago reveals to the audience his true intentions about the celebration when he states, "If I can fasten but one cup upon him, With that which he hath drunk tonight already,…