Last month, I introduced a new segment on my blog called Why I Love That Bad Guy. We started off with the big guy, Lord Voldemort. This time, I’m classin’ it up a little.
Origin: Othello by William Shakespeare
Iago was the ensign to the great hero Othello; however, his jealousy and overall hatred for the Moor led to his decision to destroy both his relationship and his fame. Through carefully planned manipulations, Iago convinces Othello that his beloved Desdemona has been unfaithful. Othello murders her before he learns the truth, but goes on to kill both Iago and himself (thus, everybody dies, in typical but brilliant Shakespeare-fashion).
Why I Love Him:
- I love a man with intelligence, and this is one clever son of a gun.
- Manipulation, deceit, and sexy soliloquies – this man knows his stuff, and isn’t afraid to flaunt it.
- I like Othello. I hate Othello. That’s right – if it weren’t for the villain, I would not enjoy this play, because the hero does nothin’ for me.
- Shakespeare is famous for his wonderful one-liners and metaphors; Iago is simply dripping with these.
- Like many of Shakespeare’s plays, the underlying reasons for Othello’s happenings are up to the reader, and Iago is no exception. He allows the reader to create their own back-story: Was it simple jealously over not being chosen as second-in-command that led to his thirst for revenge? Did he fear his own wife’s infidelity? Did he secretly love Desdemona? Did he secretly love Othello? Who knows?! That’s half the fun.
I Would Love Him More If:
- …he hadn’t killed Emilia. She was his wife, a loving and loyal woman. Hate to say it, but killing her was a bit of a douche move.
- …he hadn’t been killed. Sure, Othello died too, but there’s something alluring about the image of Iago, who is associated with the Devil himself, disappearing into the sunset to continue his sinister misdeeds.
Othello: “I look down towards his feet, but that’s a fable. If thou be’st a devil, I cannot kill thee.” [Stabs Iago]
Iago: “I bleed, sir, but not killed.”
Iago: “I am not what I am.”
Interesting Fact About Iago:
Iago refers to himself as ‘honest’ six times throughout the play – but other characters speak of him as such even more often! Ironic, no?
- Love The Bad Guy
P.S. You may have noticed that the images and video I used feature Kenneth Branagh from the 1995 adaptation of Othello, and no actors from other versions. The reason for this is simple: Branagh is just wonderful. Not over-the-top insane, not black-and-white evil; he is cunning and creepy – Iago in a nutshell!