Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

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If there is one thing to be learned from reading Shakespeare, it's that there is never a good guy. There is always a greedy someone lurking in the shadows manipulating, plotting, and scheming against everyone else in order to get their hands on something. Such is the role of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello. He plays each character against each other, lying and manipulating them all at the same time, to satisfy his need for revenge.

Iago is livid with Othello, because he had chosen Cassio, a junior in years to Iago, as his lieutenant. Iago swears his revenge on Othello and uses Roderigo as his first pawn against him. Roderigo is in love with Desdemona, who Othello had just eloped with. Iago then decides that this is an ideal opportunity to find an "ally". So, he uses Roderigo's passion for Desdemona, and hatred for Othello to his advantage.

He has Roderigo help him convince Desdemona's father, Brabantio, that she has been seduced and run away with an old black "ram". This illustrates first of all, the prejudices that Iago holds against Othello, for being black. Not only has he been outranked, but also by the order of a black man who has more power than he does! "Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul; Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe." (Iago, Othello, Act I, Scene II) Iago then tells Othello that Brabantio has slurred his honor. Othello, who is confident that his military background and stature will compensate for any complaints that were made about him, quickly dismisses this idea. This again brings out Iago's hate and prejudice that Othello does not take him for his word. Iago's motives behind...