Friday, April 10, 2015

Dear Iago

To, 
Iago, 
Ensign to Othello,
Master villain, 
C/o William Shakespeare, 
Othello



Dear Iago,

It is with some trepidation that I am writing to you. The master manipulator that you are, I fear the risk that I am taking by appending my signature to any piece of correspondence that is addressed to you. Given your track record, it’s not a very wise move on my part, but some things need to be aired.

You’re not my favourite chararacter. But you are certainly quite a character. I first came to know of you as part of a class reading of the play. My classmates and I all gasped as we became aware of the full extent of your viciousness. It seemed absurd that Othello couldn’t just straighten things out with Desdemona, but that is why a lot of relationships disintegrate. It is also a matter that I will have to address separately with him.

On the face of it, it doesn’t appear as if you have any solid motivation for indulging in the kind of vigorous plotting you did.

Tell me why you acted so. You staunchly refused to admit it when you were questioned at the close of Act V, vowing to remain silent always. 

As Othello’s ensign, you had hoped he would promote you to lieutenant. When that prized job went to someone else, you felt intensely jealous, and began to want Othello dead. So great was your hatred, so obsessive did you begin to feel, that you didn’t care who you made a pawn and a tool in the fulfillment of your devious intentions.

But was that reason enough? At one point, you even suspected Othello of having slept with your wife, Emilia. “It is thought abroad that ’twixt my sheets / He has done my office.” A short while later, you reveal your lust for Desdemona, saying that you want to pay Othello back, “wife for wife”. You spared no efforts in your desire to wreck his happiness. Who would have imagined that a handkerchief would bring down one marriage and destroy another relationship?



Your actions are proof of how devastating jealousy and suspicion can be. Your motivations keep changing, and through the course of the play, you ruined many lives in your desire for revenge. You actually seem to enjoy the pain you unleash upon others. It is this characteristic of yours that makes you appear most frightening. 


How an inherently untrustworthy man, a base liar, managed to go about winning the trust of all the blameless characters is the mystery, and the key to why you got away with your machinations.


And then you have the cheek to try to involve us, as the audience, in your schemes. You showcase your manipulative skills as though they were something to be proud of, and in revealing your plans to us, you seem to make us your accomplices. That I didn’t like at all.


Till the end, everything worked out perfectly for you.

Driven by you, the fools destroyed one another.

How ironic that they persisted in calling you “honest” Iago!




13 comments:

  1. Ah! how wonderful is that letter!! And that line about not appending your signature at the end because of his track record is so cute! I bet an english teacher would give you full marks on this dissection of his character! I loved it!!

    btw, i love the pic verification, it asked me pick up the coffee cups and when i picked only one, it prompted me to look again! it was like a game!! how did u do this? :)

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  2. Wonderful analysis of the character and nice letter. :)

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  3. Very interesting letter, well written :D
    You are welcome to check my A-Z blog posts here: http://sundarivenkatraman.blogspot.in/

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  4. I've never read this, so I have to be honest, I thought you were talking about the bird from Disney's Aladdin at first. But after reading this, I may have to read this book. Nice job with your characters A-Z. Loving it.

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  5. I've read some Shakespeare but haven't read Othello. Shakespeare was a master story teller and I love the way he wrote. Will have to consider reading Othello, just to find out about Iago.

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  6. Sadly Iago still exists today amongst us. Nice write up.

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  7. Thank you, LittlePrincess. I know that dude well so it is best not to take any chances. Thoroughly untrustworthy, mark my words. If you see him on the street, turn back and run.

    I don't know about how the pic verification happened. I didn't put it on.

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  8. Thank you, Sundari. I will check out your posts.

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  9. Hi Jeffrey, I didn't know the bird from Aladdin was called Iago. But this Iago is quite a character. Catch up on him whenever you can.

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  10. Oh, Suzy, you must read Othello, just to know Iago. You will learn why he is considered one of the most manipulative villains in fiction.

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  11. Oh, yes, Janaki, plenty of Iagos around. Unfortunately.

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  12. I loved the opening paragraph of this letter :D A well written letter :)

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