Othello Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Why do you suppose that Shakespeare does not have Iago die in the final scene of the play Othello?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Throughout the play, Shakespeare depicts European society as flawed and chaotic, which enables master puppeteers like Iago to manipulate high-ranking citizens like Othello and Michael Cassio and corrupt respected institutions like the Venetian military administration. The fact that Iago deserves to die may reflect Shakespeare's underlying message that justice is not always served and that government institutions are often as flawed as the people who represent and run them.

Another possible reason as to why Iago does not die at the end of the play is because he is a high-ranking Venetian official, and having him murdered without a trial would not accurately represent the civil European justice system. Another possible reason as to why Iago remains alive at the end of the play may concern the belief that death serves as a relief—which is, in fact, Othello's belief. If this is the case, Iago would be forced to live...

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