Great Characters Wiki
Great Characters Wiki

"Hell, and night, must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light." ― Iago's most famous line

Iago is the main antagonist of William Shakespeare's play Othello and its several film adaptations. He is a psychopathic Italian soldier who manipulates his general, Othello, into believing that his wife Desdemona is cheating on him with fellow soldier Michael Cassio. Iago is motivated by hatred of Othello, who passed him over for promotion, and whom he believes is sleeping with his wife, Emilia.

Why He Rocks

  • He is a diabolical genius, several steps ahead of everyone else to the very end.
  • He has the best role in the play.
  • He is one of the first "charming psychopath"-type characters, setting a template for later villains such as Hannibal Lecter.
  • He never provides his primary motivation for wanting to destroy Othello, making him intriguingly mysterious.
  • In his soliloquies, he makes the audience his accomplice, letting them vicariously enjoy his evil.
  • He has been played over the years by such stellar actors as Christopher Walken, Ian McKellan, and Kenneth Branagh.

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