The Serpent Iago

4 April 2015
A paper which explores the role of the serpent, Iago, in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello.

The paper shows that the story of the original sin was a vitally important one for Christians throughout history, and in the extensively Christian world for which William Shakespeare wrote, its absolute truth went unquestioned. The paper discusses how in many ways, the play Othello may be seen as a political, emotional, and tragic response to the same questions of knowledge, culpability and death that this creation myth inspires. It shows how the serpent, Iago, convinces the original and ideal man to rebel against god in search of knowledge that he ought not have, and which will only destroy him: Thus Othello falls from strength and purity to weakness, depravity, and death.
Act III, Scene III, is by far the most loaded and pivotal scene in the play. It is in this scene that Othello is truly seduced to take the forbidden fruit in his hand and to let that green-eyed monster of jealousy to run loose in his heart.

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Like a newly created creature, at the beginning of the seen he is a lighthearted 16 year old bridegroom. Certainly he has seen his share of the world, won battles and undergone dire straits, but he is still in many ways childlike and innocent.

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