Shakespeare’s infamous antagonist Iago…

Afternoon everyone, so I wanted to focus today’s post on the play Othello and more importantly Iago’s soliloquy in Act I, Scene III. I’m going to analyse the ending couplet as this particularly caught my attention.

” I have’t! It is engendered! Hell and night, Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light”

The ending to this soliloquy rather intrigued me. The imagery created by the words is compelling. For example, the words “engendered” and “monstrous birth” all fit into the semantic field of childbirth. This is seen as a miracle, gifted to mankind by the divine being; God. However, we see that Iago manipulates this sacred idea. He corrupts something pure and poisons it into something evil. The theme evil links into “Hell and night”, I think this merges the ideas of the supernatural alongside the connotations of “night”, i.e. darkness into a readers mind; forcing them to look at it from a more corrupt perspective. What also caught my attention is that these words are almost portrayed like midwifes, (people that aid a birth). To think Iago desired for something so twisted as “Hell and night” to bring about the birth shows us the depth of his emotions and his passion towards revenge. I appreciate the significant meanings of the contrasting words, “night” and “light”. Both being ambiguous as one interpretation would be that the words are referring to Desdemona’s and “the Moors” skin colors. I believe this highlights the social importance of skin color within play, and how Othello is instantly judged due to preconceptions regarding his skin color, and therefore his roots and abilities. However, this could also be referring to the on going battle between Good and Bad within the play and the constant reminder of these themes shows us the corruption within the play and in some regards the characters. Overall, I really enjoyed this part and hopefully you liked my analysis of this particular soliloquy.

Thanks for reading


2 thoughts on “Shakespeare’s infamous antagonist Iago…

  1. Maja says:

    “Honest Iago”: I always go back to analyze him, and I’ve never managed to find a final explanation for his attitudes. Loved your thoughts! Best, M.!

    • Hi M!
      Thank you for the kind words I’m glad you liked it. It is ironic how Cassio calls him “Honest Iago”, but I guess that’s a key feature of being an anti-hero; deception.

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