If we study this drama in detail and depth specially Iago Character then we come to know that as far as the theme of appearance and reality is concerned, lago is the most suitable and interesting one. Most of the time, the action of the drama revolves around him. He is a complex character in the play and is more readable than the principal character Othello who is just a simple and noble moor without any cultured & civilized social background.
In Hamlet the evil is pervasive and hangs over the whole country but in Othello it is personified in one character lago. lago is wearing a mask in which he is virtuous outwardly But inwardly he is of evil nature & this evil power even he exposes in the first scene of the play. lago is a mouthpiece of social disorder and chaos. He is always a self-seeker and never shares the ‘love and duty’ which form the social order and link it to God Himself. lago having the mask of loyalty to his master who believes in serving his master like an ass who is discarded when he is old. He believes that a true servant must be dutiful and loyal without love. That’s why, he says at one occasion:
“In following him I follow but myself heaven is my judge, not I for love & duty, But seeming so for my peculiar end”.
Actually his egotism is an outcome of the code of ‘reasoh’ by which he lives. His reason is the sin of pride, and he denies the supremacy of God and considers man as a master of his destiny. He always leads himself and others by the power of his reason. If lago denies the purpose and supremacy of God then here he is revolting against the Christian doctrines of humanity because he thinks and considers man as an entity of animal passion who has no link to the grace of God.
On the importance of love, God himself has given too much stress and which is the leading principle in God’s plan but according to lago, it is a lust for sexuality and bodily pleasure. Iago, who thinks himself as a man of intellectuality and his this supreme power of reason finally betrays him. Othello and Desdemona have the love of mind but it is destroyed by physical passion and lago takes it as a ‘frail row betwixt.’ Here we see that lago considers love as animal lust and he thinks that Desdemona will be overwhelmed by this lust. lago only judges Othello in appearance but does not see those qualities for which Desdemona has married him. For Othello, their relationship is just an outcome of lust. These very ideas destroy lago but his failure is due to the overconfidence of reason in which he is leading his life.
lago is a product of devil and his true ideas and intentions are revealed in his soliloquies which show him as a symbol or entity of evil who rejects the moral laws & order of humanity. To the audience, he seems to be a devil but for Othello, he is an embodiment of honesty. Here Othello is so simple who even cannot understand the true identity of lago. Here, honesty is to be considered to be chaste like Claudius in Hamlet. lago is an embodiment of evil who has disguised himself as good because he stands for false appearance. Iago has created or aroused a false concept of reputation in him which binds Othello in the idea that if he wants to save his honour & reputation then Desdemona’s murder is necessary.
Same thing is done with Cassio when Othello dismisses him and Cassio laments before lago who, wearing the most outward virtue asserts that the loss of reputation is far less significant than receiving a bodily wound. lago who has personified evil in the guise of good but when we analyze Othello’s character, we find him as an embodiment of true virtue.
lago who is more civilized than the black moorOthello who is not particularly a European one and he has very little experience of Desdemona’s life in Venice. That’s why Othello’s marriage seems to be a mismatched marriage between a white Italian girl to a black man of Africa. The racial difference is very much prominent in their marriage and that’s why lago calls this marital union a brute sexuality and utters here in the following words:
Thou has practis’d on her with foul charms,
Abused her delicate youth with drugs of minerals.
That weaken motion.
On the one hand, Othello has the blackness of Satan and on the other hand, lago has the whiteness of truth and virtue. Here, the writer wants to show the false identity of these both characters’ appearance. lago who seems to be honest but only outwardly not inwardly and Othello who is a man of simplicity and nobility whom Desdemona had married for his adventurous life and bravery. Owing to the influence of lago’s intrigue and plot, Othello sees Desdemona as Brabantio has seen her and falsely concludes that their matrimonial union is illegal and illegitimate as her father says:
Look to her, Moor, if thou hast .eyes to see,
She has deceived her father and may thee.
To sum up this discussion, we can say that Shakespeare had painted evil force in Othello which was eventually brought out by the suspicion which was externalized by lago’s jealousy and villainy nature, He chokes his love by his own hands just for the sake of his worldly honour & fame. At last in the ending scene, his self assassination shows the apex of his so called honour after knowing the reality. His wrong use of reason makes him suspicious of his beloved wife and murders her. After murdering her, he realizes the innocence of his beloved wife and his dead conscience is awakened and he himself punishes him.