"Angels, Men, And Devils" In Shakespeare's Othello

823 words - 4 pages

In William Shakespeare's Othello, the character Emilia suggests that the other characters of the play represent "heaven and men and devils," loosely setting up the format of the entire work, and summed up clearly in the final scene. There are characters that distinctly represent each of these realms, as well as some that seem to have characteristics from two of the areas. Desdemona is the character most closely associated with heaven as is represented by her goodness throughout the play, even when faced with her own death. Iago clearly represents the devils: he goes out of his way to cause problems for others without any clear motive. Othello is representative of the realm of man, so eas ...view middle of the document...

Iago is the character that portrays the opposite of Desdemona's perfection. From the beginning, he displays his falseness and jealousy of Othello. He expresses a will to exact revenge and confesses that no means would be beneath him. He steals from Roderigo, who trusts him. He also creates all of the conflict in the play by putting ideas into the minds of others, lying, and causing mistrust. He does not feel remorse for any of his sins. In fact, he seems to relish them. After setting up a treacherous situation where either Cassio or Roderigo is likely to die, he explains his own position of the fight: "Now, whether he kill Cassio, or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, every way makes my gain," (5.1.12.). This selfishness is in extreme contrast to Desdemona's selflessness. He dislikes Desdemona simply for her perfection. The biggest similarity he shows to Satan is when his punishment is described. He does not get the finality of death. He is condemned to torture, much as Satan was condemned to burn in the fiery pit of hell. Othello represents the realm of man because he is constantly torn between the two extremes offered by Desdemona, ...


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