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He manipulates his wife Emilia, Desdemona's lady-in-waiting, into taking from Desdemona a handkerchief that Othello had given her; he then tells Othello that he had seen it in Cassio's possession.Once Othello flies into a jealous rage, Iago tells him to hide and look on while he (Iago) talks to Cassio.
Fred West contends that Shakespeare was not content with simply portraying another “stock” morality figure, and that he, like many dramatists, was particularly interested in the workings of the human mind.
Thus, according to West, Iago, who sees nothing wrong with his own behaviour, is “an accurate portrait of a psychopath”, Bradley writes that Iago "illustrates in the most perfect combination the two facts concerning evil, which seem to have impressed Shakespeare the most", the first being that "the fact that perfectly sane people exist in whom fellow-feeling of any kind is so weak that an almost absolute egoism becomes possible to them", with the second being "that such evil is compatible, and even appears to ally itself easily, with exceptional powers of will and intellect".
Soon afterwards, however, Emilia brings Iago's treachery to light, and Iago kills her in a fit of rage before being arrested.
He remains famously reticent when pressed for an explanation of his actions before he is arrested: "Demand me nothing. From this time forth I never will speak word." Following Othello's suicide, Cassio, now in charge, condemns Iago to be imprisoned and tortured as punishment for his crimes.
Robert Armin Edwin Booth Laurence Olivier Kenneth Branagh Christopher Eccleston Frank Finlay Josh Hartnett Philip Seymour Hoffman Henry Irving Jose Ferrer Micheál Mac Liammóir Ian Mc Diarmid Ewan Mc Gregor Ian Mc Kellen Lucian Msamati Nicholas Pennell Christopher Walken Bob Hoskins Rory Kinnear Daniel Craig Liev Schreiber Saif Ali Khan) is a fictional character in Shakespeare's Othello (c. Iago is the play's main antagonist, and Othello's standard-bearer.
He is the husband of Emilia, who is in turn the attendant of Othello's wife Desdemona.The role is thought to have been first played by Robert Armin, who typically played intelligent clown roles like Touchstone in As You Like It or Feste in Twelfth Night.While no English translation of Cinthio was available in Shakespeare's lifetime, it is possible Shakespeare knew the Italian original, Gabriel Chappuy's 1584 French translation, or an English translation in manuscript.In Cinthio's tale, for example, the ensign suffers an unrequited lust for the Moor's wife, Desdemona, which then drives his vengeance.Desdemona dies in an entirely different manner in Cinthio's tale; the Moor commissions his ensign to bludgeon her to death with a sand-filled stocking.In gruesome detail, Cinthio follows each blow, and, when she is dead, the Moor and his ensign place her lifeless body upon her bed, smash her skull, and then cause the cracked ceiling above the bed to collapse upon her, giving the impression the falling rafters caused her death. The Moor misses his wife greatly, however, and comes to loathe the sight of his ensign.He demotes him, and refuses to have him in his company.One only who lacks inner assurance and is so constantly on guard against any hint of his inferiority could so confess himself".Following this logic, Draper concludes that Iago "is neither as clever nor as wicked as some would think; and the problem of his character largely resolves itself into the question: was he justified in embarking upon the initial stages of his revenge?The ensign then seeks revenge by disclosing to "the squadron leader" (the tale's Cassio counterpart), the Moor's involvement in Desdemona's death.The two men denounce the Moor to the Venetian Seignory.