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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: December ::
Iago's Evil
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2863  Wednesday, 19 December 2001

From:           Sophie Masson <
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Date:           Wednesday 19 Dec 2001 03:11:49 +1100
Subject:        Iago's Evil

I have read with interest people's contributions re Othello and Iago.
The thing that interests me above all is--why would we need explanations
for Iago's evil? Evil of that kind rarely has an adequate explanation.
Some people--very rare indeed, but still real--simply seem to act that
way, for no apparent reason or motive, unless you except power from it.
But even then it is a power that is often not even seen to be exercised.
Its only reward is the thrill of knowing one is doing wrong, of
fulfilling an evil nature.

Some of Shakespeare's portraits of evil seem to be the evil committed by
people because of greed, or lust, or power--such for instance as
Macbeth.  Such evil is quantifiable in a way, explainable, able to be
analysed. We can see where people 'went wrong'. Iago is troubling
because he appears motiveless. But that is because that is his
function--destruction. In the same way, some real people seem to have
precisely that kind of functional, no-fuss, yet surreal kind of evil
within them. They exist to do evil, if the circumstances are right. If
they're not, then they just stay unremarkable, that's all. In
suspension, as it were. A far more chilling prospect than any
explainable evil..

Sophie Masson
Author site: http://www.northnet.com.au/~smasson

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