In Othello, can Iago be called a vilain?Is Iago really a vilain? Can you give me some reasons that he is not and that he is? Could you add quotes?  Thank you.

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wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
To answer the rebuttal question in post 4, I think it depends on your definition of the term law. During this time period, many laws were different than they are today so it's hard to point to a literal law Iago has broken. However, consider that people during this time period lived by a code. A gentleman was expected to act a certain way. For instance, a gentleman giving his word should have been honest. Someone in the employ of a gentleman (as Iago was) would have been expected to live by a code as well. Iago does break this type of law (or code) in nearly every chapter of the book. Even at the opening of the story, Iago breaks the code of conduct when he calls out insults to Desdemona's father, the governor. We can see how apawled he makes the people who know of his true behavior.
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course he's a villain.  Here's a guy that is undermining Othello's marriage simply because he is jealous of Othello (and this is his boss, someone he's supposed to be loyal to).  He is willing and even eager to cause various people to die simply so that he can get what he wants.  It doesn't get much more villainous than that, does it?

For an example of someone close to him (his wife) calling him a villain, there is

I will be hang'd if some eternal villain,
Some busy and insinuating rogue,
Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
Have not devis'd this slander.
(IV.ii.130-133)

xbbe | Student

Of course he's a villain.  Here's a guy that is undermining Othello's marriage simply because he is jealous of Othello (and this is his boss, someone he's supposed to be loyal to).  He is willing and even eager to cause various people to die simply so that he can get what he wants.  It doesn't get much more villainous than that, does it?

For an example of someone close to him (his wife) calling him a villain, there is

I will be hang'd if some eternal villain,
Some busy and insinuating rogue,
Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
Have not devis'd this slander.
(IV.ii.130-133)

the definition of a villainis: "a bad person who harms other people or breaks the law." from Cambridge advanced learner's dictionnary. Iago does harm other people, but he does not break the law. What can you say to that?

 

xbbe | Student

Sorry! it was supposed to be in litterature

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Othello

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