Analysis of Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare

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Annotated Bibliography on Iago’s Brilliance in Othello by Shakespeare

Research question: In the play Othello by Shakespeare, Iago exhibits extreme levels of brilliance that lead to the death of everyone in the end.


Jacobsen, K. (2009). Iago’s Art of War: The “Machiavellian Moment” in Othello. Modern

Philology (Serial Online), 106 (3), 497-529. Retrieved from:

The book by Jacobsen takes an in-depth analysis of the character of Othello. It draws the attention of the reader to the incidence in which Othello mistreats by appointing him to a lower position, thus his decision to take revenge. Jacobsen considers the critic of Othello and Cassio influential in building the witty character of Iago, who thinks of himself as extremely brilliant. Jacobsen describes Iago as a military strategist and acknowledges the fact that his speech is way more fluent than Cassio. He also reveals that the language used by Iago is more military imbued compared to that of Othello, showing his strength in character.

Raatzsch, R. (2009).  The Apologetics of Evil: The Case of Iago. Princeton Monographs in

            Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 115 ISBN: 978–0–691–13733–9.

The book by Raatzsch Richard exhibits Iago’s evil nature and the puzzle that Iago creates in the play, Othello, by Shakespeare. Raatzsch discusses in depth the factors that drive Iago into orchestrating the downfall of Othello. The book manifests the lack of motive by Iago as a strength rather than a weakness in the play. According to Raatzsch, Iago is highly governed by his great passion for intriguing rather than merely seeking revenge. 

Saunders, B. (2004). Iago’s Clyster: Purgation, Anality, and the Civilizing Process. Shakespeare

            Quarterly, 55(2), 148-176. Retrieved from:

The article by Saunders analyzes Iago’s anal character.  The story is a fascinating encounter of Othello's anal discourse using research from other researchers. The article also discusses the role of Iago in building the plot of the play. It depicts the character of Iago as a witty person who easily destroys people who give him trust.

Vickers, B. (1979). Shakespeare’s Hypocrites. Hypocrisy, Illusion, and Evasion, 108(3). 45-83.

            Retrieved from:'s%20Hypocrites.pdf

In this article Vickers Brian depicts Iago as a hypocrite who uses his witty character to lead the downfall is his very trusted counterparts. He gives no praise to Othello's brilliance but instead of condemning his nature of working in passion and disregarding the plight of other innocent characters because of his series of lies and pretense.

August 01, 2023
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