I need help with my Othello paper.  Can you give me some ideas on the following please:so i have to write a 3-4 page paper on these 2 questions about shakespeare's othello and i have no clue what...

I need help with my Othello paper.  Can you give me some ideas on the following please:

so i have to write a 3-4 page paper on these 2 questions about shakespeare's othello and i have no clue what to do, can you guys give me some ideas on either or even both of these questions

1. what do you think motivates Iago to carry out his schemes. Do you find him a devil incarnate, a madman, or a rational human being?

or..

Does the downfall of Othello proceed from any flaw in his nature, or is his downfall entirely the work of Iago.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think examining the motivations and character of Iago is a fairly strong endeavor for a paper.  Iago is represented as a strongly consistent character who does not waver in his manipulation of others throughout the play.  He uses rational calculation and analysis to a new degree and his appearance of pure evil might result from the fact that there is little, if any, hesitation or vacillation in his motives.  Unlike Othello, who is torn with his own internal fears, and Cassio, driven by appearances and having been perceived to "do the right thing," Iago is extremely focused and consistent in the pursuit of his own agenda by any and all means.  This might not necessarily make him out to be evil incarnate, but it does move him to a new realm of causing fairly intense and unspeakable emotional cruelty.

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think a paper taking into account all of Iago's personality traits might be a bit too ambitious and you will get bogged down trying to cover anger,aggression,secrecy jealousy and hate all in one go in the play Othello by William Shakespeare. One idea would be to narrow down your options so that you can cover just one motivation in really good, close detail - for example - revenge. Then you could go through the text picking out quotes and instances to support your own ideas about it. "I follow him to serve my turn upon him" would be one example. One of the scariest things about Iago is that he can wait and stalk his victim with a straight face as though nothing has changed inside him. His two-faced scheming makes him pathological, cold and without empathy or mercy.