There are many characters in Shakespeare who are not very good, or who cause bad things to happen. The majority of them have some humanity, or have some feature that makes you pity them as well as disapprove of them. The villain in Othello however, is to me purely evil. Iago was on friendly terms with Othello, but when he is looked over for a promotion, he hates him. He could have decided to try and get that wished for promotion for himself, but instead his hatred is so great that he doesn’t want to work with Othello at all now, and just wants to cause as much pain as possible. He then manipulates several people who trust him as a friend, causing the murder of multiple people. He drags innocent people into the conflict and has no scruples about the harm that come to them.
The main weapon he uses is jealousy. Interestingly, the seed was planted much earlier, by Desdomona’s father when he says
Look to her Moor, if thou has eyes to see;
She has deciev’d her father, and may thee
Advice from Shakespeare:
This wholeplay could be taken as an advisory to avoid jealousy, and acting on rumour that isn’t proven. Other quotes that caution us are:
Thinking to much on the negative, makes you life negative:
To mourn a mischief that is past and gone
Is the next way to draw new mischief on
Be cautious of alcohol:
O God, that men
should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away
their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance
revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!
Be cautious of men:
‘Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
To eat us hungerly, and when they are full,
They belch us.
Other book related things:
Coffee Addicted Writer question of the week: how long have you been blogging?
It must be around 5 months now. The first couple months it was hard to get the posts regularly enough, because by the nature of my blog I have to read a whole book for (almost) every post I do, which takes time. But I have worked on getting a little ahead, which helps a lot.
Book Beginnings on Fridays: The Opening line of Othello
Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly
That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse
As if the strings were thine,
shouldst know of this.
It starts with secrets and plotting right from the start.
Never, Iago: Like to the Pontic sea,
Whose icy current and compulsive course
Ne’er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
To the Propontic and the Hellespont,
Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
Shall ne’er look back, ne’er ebb to humble love,
that a capable and wide revenge
Swallow them up.
Othello is taken over by his jealous thoughts, and can’t become reasonable again.