The Concept of Villain in Shakespeare’s Othello

  •  Marwan Alqaryouti    
  •  Ala Sadeq    


The concept of evil has been researched since the Medieval era, leading to the conclusion that human beings have the freedom to choose good from bad, or evil from good. The origin of evil based on the religious teachings is Satan, who is described as the Rebel Angel, as explained by Dante in The Divine Comedy (Alighieri, 1957). Satan tempts human beings into sinning, as revenge against God for placing him in Hell. Based on the psychological point of view developed by Sigmund Freud, the source of evil is id which is distinctive (Freud, 1966). Villain motivations are driven by the tendency of the ego to make realistic decisions about meeting the unrealistic and unreasonable desires by the id. The other aspect that motivates villain actions include jealousy, anger and revenge, as indicated in the play. Shakespeare presents the villain character perfectly in his play Othello (1604) through Iago, whose main focus in life is to destroy others “So will I turn her virtue into pitch And out of her own goodness make the net That shall enmesh them all” (Shakespeare, 1993, p. 99). Through his manipulative skills, he makes the other characters trust him “Iago most honest” (Shakespeare, 1993, p. 75) and then fuel conflicts among them. Iago is motivated by anger, revenge and jealousy to commit the evil acts.

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  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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