Iagos motivation





The actions of Iago in the William Shakespeare play Othello were unanimously the actions of a man with little remorse or compassion toward the parties involved. There have been many debates over the years as to what drove a man to take such actions upon the people close to him, some believe it was the jealousy he felt towards Cassio after he was given a military rank which Iago was looked over for, other readers have felt that Iago was insane and didn’t fully realize his actions or the consequences of them. There is a reason that is far more believable given the path Iago followed during the play; Iago was a person who gained pleasure from the pain and emotional stress of others, although displaying sociopathic behaviour he knew what he was doing and did it as a source of personal amusement, simply put Iago was what today we call a jerk.

As discussed in our class before, it is a common belief that all humans have a touch of evil in them and that certain situations bring that evil to the surface, the degree and context of evil depends on the person and can it can lead to different courses of action. In the case of Iago, he did not need a specific event or situation for his evil side to surface it was already showing in his personality. The evil inside Iago was the pleasure he gained from causing harm to the lives of others, he showed this throughout the play through his interactions with others. These interactions show that Iago was neither jealous nor insane when he plotted against Othello but that it was just his nature to cause harm to the environment surrounding him.

The magnitude of the scenario caused by Iago is something far to great to be an act of revenge, there is only one thing that would cause a man to do such a horrific deed, getting off on being a jerk. If the motivating factor was the jealousy Iago felt that the revenge would somehow reflect what he was jealous about, the actions Iago took in no way reflected the decision made by Othello and therefore it is highly unlikely that Iago took the lives of three people to avenge something he never brought up in the play.

The act that most strongly displays this characteristic of Iago is his interaction with Cassio at the party celebrating the defeat of the Turks. Cassio, when offered a drink by Iago, makes it abundantly clear that he does not wish to drink nor should he even if he desired to because he was supposed to be on watch that night. Iago saw a chance to cause trouble for Cassio, he pushed the drink onto Cassio and refused to let up until it was drank, Iago knowingly put Cassio into a position where he acted uncharacteristic of himself by getting Cassio drunk. Iago knows that Roderigo and three proud Cypriots are drunk as well, Iago is certain that Cassio will fight in this situation. This event doesn’t serve any purpose to his plot against Othello and if his plot against Othello were of revenge he would have no reason to cause this harm to Cassio’s reputation.

Iago also in this scene shows that he is fully aware of what he is doing because he ‘ties all the loose ends’ in a conversation with Montano. Iago first says that Cassio is a great soldier, and then says that he is as great a drunk as he is a soldier. He adds that he\'s afraid that Cassio\'s drunkenness will sometime make him betray Othello\'s trust and disturb the peace of Cyprus. Montano asks if Cassio is often drunk, and Iago answers that he gets drunk every night and that he can\'t go to sleep without getting drunk. This is obviously a lie that again hurts Cassio for no reason but it also indicates that Iago wants to prepare Montano to draw the right conclusions when Roderigo gets into a brawl with Cassio, which is not something a man who is insane would do.

The second act that most strongly exemplifies the crude personality of Iago is

Iago did not display the actions and gestures of a