Back to List of Characters


Iago is one of the most intriguing and complex characters in William Shakespeare's tragedy, Othello. Known for his manipulative nature and his ability to deceive those around him, Iago is often seen as the ultimate villain in the play.

At the beginning of the play, Iago is introduced as a trusted lieutenant to the Moorish general, Othello. However, beneath his outwardly loyal demeanor lies a deep-seated jealousy and resentment towards Othello. Iago feels that he has been overlooked for promotion and is determined to seek revenge.

Throughout the play, Iago uses his cunning and intelligence to manipulate those around him, particularly Othello. He plants seeds of doubt in Othello's mind, convincing him that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful. This manipulation ultimately leads to a tragic chain of events, with Othello's jealousy consuming him and resulting in the deaths of Desdemona and ultimately himself.

Iago's Motivation

One of the most fascinating aspects of Iago's character is his motivation. While it is clear that he is driven by a desire for revenge against Othello, there are many theories as to why he harbors such deep-seated resentment. Some believe that Iago is motivated by racial prejudice, as Othello is a black man in a position of power. Others argue that Iago's actions are driven by a more personal jealousy, as he suspects that Othello has slept with his wife, Emilia.

Regardless of his motivation, it is clear that Iago is a master manipulator. He is able to prey on the weaknesses and insecurities of those around him, using their trust and love against them. His ability to deceive and manipulate makes him one of Shakespeare's most memorable and notorious characters.

In conclusion, Iago is a complex and enigmatic character in Shakespeare's Othello. His manipulative nature and ability to deceive make him a formidable antagonist. Whether motivated by racial prejudice or personal jealousy, Iago's actions result in tragedy and ultimately the downfall of those around him.