Analysis of Iago’s Emotions and Acts in Othello

In the story Othello, written by William Shakespeare, Iago holds security in his tranquility, allowing his true intentions to be masked. This allows Iago to copy and apply emotions from characters around him. The ability to counter his inner silence and replace it with a false personality grants him the upperhand to any situation, permitting him to get close with his enemies and use their allies as pawns to his master plan. The magnitude for Iago’s emotional, physical, and mental destruction is boundless, due to the absence of his true emotions where his superego personality grants no clarification for his severity and psychotic behaviour.

The main distinctive of Iago is his ability to win any unpredictable circumstance and turn it into his own personal playground. Iago’s stench of deception trails on nearly every character he comes in contact with, planting even the tiniest seed inside that characters head so that it become of use when in time of need. He refers to Cassio as a proper man, only to establish a connection of trust. However, Cassio took the position over Iago which gratey injured his superego. The fight for emotional balance inside Iago’s mind is never ending, causing unpleasant emotional states to enact defensive and offensive mechanisms to mortally wound his enemy’s reputation or health. Iago reluctantly is able to understand his own unwanted characteristics and uses the instrument of projection, forcing his bad desires onto his victims.

Ensuing his own agenda, Iago says to Roderigo “The Moor is of a free and open nature, that thinks men honest that but seem to be so, and will as tenderly be led by the nose as asses are” (VII,ii,75). Iago is disposed of sensibility. However, he understands his ability to make victims fall for his traps, forcing them to follow blindly. Iago knowing this strength enjoys watching the series of chess pieces leaving the board. The dexterity of Iago to hide in his silence allows him to be “friends” with all his victims, from Roderigo and Othello to additional figures, like Cassio and Bianca. This is the first psychological characteristic of Iago, total domination. He is able to generate a normal personality, but portrays the most sly and cunning characteristics of this play. His servitude to other heroes is a defence play in order to learn their weaknesses, which grants him with power and helps to control Othello. Iago is able to produce his heinous plans and not get caught by the protection of his “loyal-undying service”.

The most evident emotion in this play is jealousy, and for jealousy to exist their needs to be a shared feeling of love and hatred. In regards to a psychological view, Iago is completely responsible for the paranoiac advancement in Othello’s personality. Iago using Othello’s sensitivity and suspicion creates a play on words in order create the murderous intention of Othello. However, succeeding the murder of Desdemona, Othello acknowledges the immeasurable love he had for her, but was distracted by his own jealousy.

Shakespeare creates a beautiful sequence of events in the psychological aspect forcing Iago only made subtle hints. The lack of information causes Othello great pain, but when asked more Iago refuses to say anything. Thus, encouraging the rocky and emotional state of Othello, throwing him into a state of turmoil and suffering. Only when Iago was positive that his plan wouldn’t hit a rebuff, he decides to say things more clearly and with detail. Othello gradually falls for Iago’s false friendliness and quickly starts to believe anything he is told, Iago recognizing this quickly tells his cunning accusations. Iago deliberately portrays a distinct picture of sin shared between Cassio and Desdemona. This is a deliberate example of paranoiac development which finally sends Othello into his downfall. In the final scene Othello plans on killing Desdemona.

However, his love and hatred for her causes him to kiss her, yearning for more and more. This is an example of how hatred and love coexist when a person is jealous. Iago understands this due to his capability of remaining quiet and observing, and plants this seed into othello. Demonstrating Iago’s superior force, an official of sly strategical power, and destroyer of competition. Othello recognizing his actions, states words that symbolize victory over evil: “One that loved not wisely but too well like the base Indian, threw a pearl away, richer than all his tribe” (VII,iii,360).

Alterations in behavior are typically derived from emotions, and each person has their own personal behavior accompanied with a certain state of conscience. The combining of emotions generates a special interaction creating a new type of ego one may not have had before.“All the transaction of Iago had latent motives, which were used by him to manipulate other people” (Chapman, 7). Iago’s ego seemed to follow the scheme of child-adult-parent, meaning Iago’s personality traits follow the actions of either a child, adult, or parent. Noticing Iago’s behavior, it is apparent that Iago does in fact view himself as a child.

A child playing a “real life” game of chess, where he is in control of all the rules and players. Like a child, Iago created his own sandbox kingdom and decided that he wanted a new position. Being a Child, Iago believes that a threat to his world is an attack on him. Thus calling for an executive action of putting down his attacker. If Iago appeared to be an adult, than he would construct relationships with people. Instead he prefers to play his own game with them and hide in his silence. In addition, Iago strictly follows the model of deception, which is another strategy, learned at a young age. Deception is the quickest and simplest way for a child to win and sustain itself.

The childish attempt of running away also demonstrates his dread of being disciplined and incapacity to overcome obstacles. Nevertheless, Iago is able to relate to the roll of parent as well, as he continually gives advice and direction to people who ask. As a child, parents are able to force us to develop in any direction they choose. In a way Iago is a combination of Child and Parent.

It is clearly evident that Iago understands his intellectual personality and actions. Although they might not be desired, he is able to strategize and implicate certain scenarios to his advantage. Iago’s characteristics of ambition, thoughtfulness, and outright persuasiveness forces him to play all the pieces on the board with ease. Proving, that he views himself superior to all characters around him. Thus, leaving Iago’s character unaltered, allowing him to still be evil and ambitious until he fulfills his desires. Demonstrating that Iago is able to generate his own fantasy, where he strives on the weakness of his enemies while he resorts to his silence.

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Analysis of iago's emotions and acts in othello. (2021, Jun 21). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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