Essay on Iago As A Villain Of Concealment

1510 Words Mar 13th, 2015 7 Pages
It is the popular opinion of many that Iago is Shakespeare’s evilest creation, with S.T Coleridge going as far as to describe him as a ‘motiveless malignity’, while Don John is perceived as Shakespeare’s most humane, if not passive villain. Whereas Iago is characterised as a villain of concealment, Don John is one of disclosure, and this stark contrast may suggest contrasting ideologies between these villains. The idea of motive that Coleridge presents is not in the sense that we know, as he argues that motive is merely rationalisations for a characters true nature; it must be deduced if Iago is an amoral malignity, or rather has a concealed aim in his plans. Comparatively, Don John is perceived to be immoral, as he does present clear motives, and although he is wicked, he does seem to have moral standards, unlike Iago who ventures to any length to achieve his devious goal. On face value, these villains are drastically different, however there are many factors linking them together. The villains are categorised with a recognisable Elizabethan 'humour ' of a melancholic, and thereby their malignant spite is their natural conditional, creating the view that although they may not both be motiveless, they have the same physiology of malignant spite and jealousy.

When we explore Don John and Iago through a psychoanalytical perspective, it can be deduced that whereas one type of villain was driven by society, another was born a 'motiveless malignity '. The motives between…

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