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In the play Othello by William Shakespeare the main villain Iago says many things hinting that he is not who he appears to be on the outside Iago seems to be calm and kind warm-hearted and loyal many even call him honest Iago but there is a sting of irony to this -- Iago isnt honest at all It is just a facade put on to fool those around him into trusting him and letting their guard down long enough for him to trick them On the inside he is a cold and calculating genius whose sole purpose in life is to achieve power and success -- through any means possible The phrase I am not what I am II69 basically translates to I am not what I appear to be but it goes much deeper than that If you are not what you are that what are you Its really a paradox a person can be one thing in appearance but the interior can be starkly different Iago is never what he appears to be taking on a chameleon-like ability to cahnge his character to suit a situation Later he virtually wishes himself into nonexistence when he says Men should be what they seem or those that be not would they might seem noneIIIIII148-149 Iagos hypocracy has a bit of foreshadowing to it here is a man who is not what he appears to be he tricks people into thinking that he is something he is not and through his cruel shceming he brings about his own downfall I am not what I am also has some biblical connotations to it In Exodus 414 Moses asks God what name he should refer to him as to the Pharoah Gods response is very strongly I AM WHAT I AM which is in opposition to I am not what I am Was Shakespeare using a biblical allusion to hint that Iago is opposite of
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