Padmini Sukumaran

Do you think that Iago's hatred for Othello stems from jealousy for Othello (after all he did suspect him of sleeping with his wife) and so he tries to duplicate the jealousy in Othello?

To answer questions about Othello, please sign up.
Georgia Yes, Shakespeare plays on the idea of masculinity in the 17th Century and the insecurity of men. Everything about a man's pride and "social standing" was based on what they OWNED; including women which is addressed in act 1 when Iago says "look to your house, your daughter and your bags"- women/daughters being associated with property . The idea of Othello allegedly sleeping with his wife hits a wrong chord with Iago because a black man in a white dominated society is above him in office and has also "stolen his property". HOWEVER, there are so many creative ways you could interpret Iago as a character and why he does what he does. It is perfectly reasonable to associate Iago with psychopathic tendencies for example. The idea I like to go with is the portrayal and the clever imagery Shakespeare uses to present Iago as the devil; notice when he says "I am not what I am" it suggests he is the devil disguised as a human. He is ironically called "Honest Iago". It is completely plausible to interpret this idea, as the devil is known to initiate mayhem. This theory is resonated in the story of Adam and Eve, when Eve is tempted by the snake (devil) and we as the human race have to live a life of sin as a consequence. THIS, I think most importantly underlines and concludes the whole play on the question Shakespeare is addressing about how we react as human beings and do we have natural self-distruction tendencies?
Iago is very complex but one of the most interesting of Shakespeare's characters. His revenge could simply be about jealousy we will never know however, Shakespeare was a smart man and the connotations with Iago's revenge representing a much bigger meaning could not be coincidental.

Sorry that was long but I felt like this play needs a lot more recognition than it gets :)
ashley 🍂 Something my professor once mentioned was that Iago was jealous of the goodness he saw in other people. Iago was definitely a cynic, and one definition of a cynic is one who distrusts human sincerity or integrity --mostly because his own motivations are only motivated by self-interest. But, for a cynic to justify their own behavior, they have to attempt to see the same evil in others. I would have to disagree that the inkling of a thought that Emilia cheated on him would lead Iago to murder. And I also don't think the anger in Cassio's upgrade could provoke such an extreme response from Iago.

Instead, there was likely an inner struggle Iago had with himself that initiated his evil actions. Iago knew he lacked human empathy. In order to accept himself, he had to see the bad in the good around him. He brought the bad out of Othello, and he had Othello get rid of the goodness (Desdemona) around him.
Robert Teeter All of the following are suggested in the text:
1. Iago's jealousy that Othello chose Cassio and passed him over for promotion.
2. Iago's belief that Othello is cuckolding him with his wife, Emilia. (I'm not sure how much Iago really believes that.)
3. Iago's hatred of other people, especially those higher in rank or better in morals than he is.
4. Iago's racism/xenophobia, hatred of the other.
Clay There is a saying, "Misery loves company." And few things breed misery like hatred. Iago's hatred of Othello stems not only from his jealousy of him, but from his suspicion. Othello is endowed with the physical traits that make him a great warrior and leader of men. Iago is more of a clever wordsmith (not unlike Shakespeare), but not an influencer like Othello. Iago suspects that Othello's success is not deserved. Racism and xenophobia play into this suspicion as well. So, yes, Iago has a need to bring Othello down, to make him feel the hate and misery that he himself feels.
Estefania It could be, but honestly, I think it's more about power; he wanted a promotion, and maybe even Othello's position (I think there's also a thing of the fact Othello is a moor, a racist thing as well that makes Iago hates Othello even more). Seeing how Iago is, his nature, I don`t really think he cares about his wife, I think he only cares about himself and use his wife as an excuse. But that's my opinion.
Olfa Malek What if Iago LOVES Othello? He did no harm to the Moor.. he just tried to eliminate all the loving people around Othello; his rivals. Othello did -always- throughout the play value and highlight Iago's love for him. Act3 Scene4 Iago kneels.. his last words "I am your own for ever".. you know "Love and hate are intimately linked".
Z I personally think that Iago was jealous of Othello because he was a Moor but had a higher position than him, since he kept referring to him as a black devil and evil Moor etc. It goes along well with the whole "jealousy as a tragic flaw" theme. But what you suggested does seem like a plausible reason for his hatred.
Image for Othello
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more