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IAGO- A CHARACTER ANALYSIS I am not what I am Iago states of himself and this certainly seems to encapsulate all that he is A 28 year-old highly ambitious and headstrong ancient to Othello in the Venetian Army the audience sees that he has an overwhelming desire for power his envy of those he views as better or luckier than himself eats at him and is the reason he wishes to destroy them Iago in the words of M R Ridley is contemptuous- his obsession with revenge takes over his life and through using careful manipulation to sustain his villainous side his complex role in Othello becomes apparent The benefit he reaps from the downfall of the others who ironically see him as honest drives him to continue his Machiavellian scheming it is Iago who is principally behind the propulsion of Shakespeares hero Othello to his tragic and harrowing end It is at the very beginning of the play that Iago reveals the most of his real self to the audience Set at night in a Venetian street we see Iago and Roderigo whisper their secret grievances Overlooked for military promotion as Othellos Lieutenant Iago is angry because he has been rejected he feels that his service and experience have been downgraded His reaction to this is valid but this understandable case of sour grapes triggers in him a desire for revenge out of all proportion Iago despises Othello because he believes Cassio Othellos chosen Lieutenant has never set a squadron in the field Iagos arrogance is clear to us as he professes I know my place I am worth no worse a place- he is scornful of both Othello and Cassio He then reveals his peevish jealousy when he attempts to blame his disappointment on his belief that preferment goes by letter and affection Another reason he gives for wishing revenge upon Othello is more personal than career related Iago has
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