Now there’s a scary headline if I’ve ever heard one. How bad is the world, exactly, if you’re defining it in Iago terms? The New York Times spins off the recent badly reviewed Othello, by Peter Sellars, to look at who Iago is and what he’s always meant. Focusing on the themes of “transparency” versus “secrecy”, the article takes a number of interesting turns. The new movie “The Invention of Lying” comes up, as does Michael Jackson’s death, David Letterman, and of course, Obama.
The moral agony of “Othello” is, in fact, that its bone-chilling villain is the only character who is in possession of the play’s truth. Through his machinations, Iago demonstrates that directness and honesty are, indeed, not safe — and in fact never are — because the overly transparent victim sometimes invites the predator’s manipulations and so becomes complicit with him.