The Demi-Devil (Iago) An indepth look at Iago as Satan

Essay by googlesHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2005

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Iago is portrayed as perhaps the most malevolent and conniving character in classical literature. In William Shakespeare's tragedy, Othello, Iago manipulates the people around him through masterful and clever tactics. Through these devices, Iago brings forth a nearly apocalyptic end that leads to his torture and the death of many around him. Iago's malevolence and his complete mastery of it is clear to even the most cursory observer. But, more than this, Iago is the king of evil himself, Satan. Iago uses the Satanic art of manipulation to conduct his doings.

Satan has been portrayed over time in varied forms. In the Old Testament, Satan is mentioned merely as a fallen angel. In the modern day, Satan is envisioned as a red hoofed human like animal with a pointed tail. Shakespeare, however, has taken Satan and put him in the form of Iago. Satan has the ability to enter into man and act through him (Britannica "Satan").

In the play, Satan has entered Iago, and is testing these humans for entrance to hell.

Iago's temptation of others mirrors that of Satan. Never does he tell people what to do specifically, but rather is that little voice of doubt questioning the characters. Society has come to picture Satan as a little red man on the left shoulder advising people to carry out evil things. Similarly, Iago raises doubt and keeps on being that voice egging on Othello. Iago makes sure that Othello doesn't remove Desdemona's dishonesty from his mind. Iago continually nags Othello about the handkerchief and Cassio's interactions with Desdemona. Less serious but equally indicative of his nature as the tempter is how Iago encourages Cassio to drink with his entreaty: "But one cup, I'll drink for you" (2.3.34-5). Again, he moves Cassio to do wrong by drinking and getting...



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