Shakespeare’s Villains – Iago

Shakespeare’s Villains is a series of blogs by Finding Shakespeare and our education team over at Blogging Shakespeare. Some of Shakespeare’s most exciting characters are villains and we have chosen ten of the best to look at over the coming weeks. Our fourth villain is Iago.

Access and Interpretation Coordinator, Anna Griffiths, is looking at an item from the Shakespeare Centre’s Archive. It is a lecture titled ‘Iago’ and dated 12th May 1912. It was written by Revd Edgar Innes Fripp, a noted twentieth century scholar, who spent most of his life researching, writing and speaking about William Shakespeare.

 

Click here to take a look at our Flickr album on Iago, and don’t forget to check out yesterday’s blog at Blogging Shakespeare for closer look at his character.

  • Nastinter

    I’ve recently returned from Sevastopol. I’ve visited many sights there, including theatre. There was “Othello”. I enjoyed the show and the actors, especially Othello, Desdemona…and Iago. I think, Iago’s temper which was shown in that play was very close to the description of Revd Edgar Innes Fripp. No wonder – the character is the same – an intelligent, strong-willed, decisive person which does everything to achieve his goals. By the way, I’ve marked that many Shakespeare’s villains (for example, Lady Macbeth) are very purposeful and decisive. They kill, lie, betray, icite – everything for their dreams, for their high goals. Nothing (inluding morals) can stand in their way if they want to gain their victory.
    In my opinion, Iago is a creator and a destroyer, all in one. A creator – because he creates a tragedy (one of the spectacors wasn’t agree with me – she thinks that’s Othello. Well, it’s just my opinion). A destroyer – because he destroys lives, including his own one (although he doesn’t realize it).
    Why has Iago done ALL THAT? That’s a question. Why do people do evil things at all? He did evil things, that’s right. But they weren’t evil for him (he was sure in it, at least). Everybody has his own truth and his own ideas about good and evil.

  • AnnaGriffiths

    Thanks Nastinter, I like your view of Iago as both creator and destroyer. For me he certainly does control the situations around him and create the tragedy, although Othello’s jealousy acts as a catalyst. Have you had a look at the Blogging Shakespeare page from our colleagues in the Education Dept. Liz has been considering some of the motives and morals of our villains. This week we are going to be looking at Iachimo – so maybe some parallels to Iago…

  • Anna Griffiths

    Thanks Nastinter, I like your view of Iago as both creator and destroyer. For me he certainly does control the situations around him and create the tragedy, although Othello’s jealousy acts as a catalyst. Have you had a look at the Blogging Shakespeare page from our colleagues in the Education Dept. Liz has been considering some of the motives and morals of our villains. 

  • Anonymous

    Interesting to see a view of the most evil character in Shakespeare through the eyes of a priest, who recognises some of Iago’s virtues and almost admires him! I don’t think many people find much to admire in Iago 100 years after Fripp was writing. Thanks for considering a piece of criticism written so long ago: it shows how much sensibilities have changed.

A freely available online exhibition exploring keys aspects of the music in Shakespeare’s plays, as well as music inspired by Shakespeare.