The Psychoanalytic Perspective In Relation To Iago

942 words - 4 pages

There are a number of perspectives that a critic can use to interpret a work of literature. One perspective, the psychological approach, deals with interpreting the text by using what is known about psychology. Some critics will try and understand the writers while, "still other critics employ methods of Freudian psychoanalysis to understand not only the writers themselves such as Shakespeare but the literary characters they create" (DiYanni 635). In Shakespeare's play, "The Tragedy of Othello," a critic might want to use the psychoanalytic approach to help understand Iago. To do this, one might look at the characters and their wants, needs, and desires. The will also look at the character relationships to help come up with a psycho-analysis for the characters. The main goal of this approach is figure out why the characters are the way they are, and make assumptions about why they acted the way they did according to psychology.In Othello, many characters take various actions that might strike the audience as disturbing or odd. Iago is one of the main characters who continually takes stunning actions. In this paper I plan to demonstrate the psychoanalytic approach by analyzing Iago and trying to explain why he might have made some of the actions that he did. I also plan on discussing possible motives for his actions.Iago is a main character who continuously acts on other characters throughout the play. He could be viewed as a "master-manipulator." He continuously tries to make people believe what he wants them to believe. He will make up lies and twist stories forreasons that sometimes are hard to figure out. Using the Freudian concepts of the conscious and the unconscious I will analyze Iago's behavior thought the play.According the Freud, "The unconscious contains all those drives, urges, or instincts that are beyond our awareness but that nevertheless motivate most of our words, feelings, and actions" (Feist 23). Unconsciously, Iago may be taking some of his actions because of some homosexual tendencies. He admits to loving Othello and cries with Othello when he wants Iago to replace Cassio. Iago announces, "Witness that here Iago doth give up the execution of his wit, hands, heart to wronged Othello's service!"(III.iii. 462-64). This statement helps the reader understand that Iago loves Othello and is willing to give up everything to serve him. Iago also shows little compassion for male-female relationships including his own. He even makes comments about him recently sleeping with Cassio and about Cassio's actions to Othello. Cassio proclaims, "And then, sir, would he gripe and wring my hand, cry 'O sweet creature!' Then kiss me hard, as if he plucked up kisses by the roots that grew upon my lips; laid his leg o'er my thigh, and sigh, and kiss,,," (III.iii. 418-22). In reality, Iago could have been fantasizing about being in bed with...

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