“…What’s he then that says I play the villain?” — Iago
Written: Around 1603
Pros: Intelligent, ambitious, funny. Although he is the play’s worst character, he is also its most interesting and complex by far… you can’t take your eyes off the scum ball.
Cons: Manipulative, abusive, sociopathic, vengeful, bitter, jealous, petty. He’s a liar and bully that will literally commit murder to get what he wants.
Most Shining Moment: (Yeah, I’m leaving this one BLANK)
Least Shining Moment: So many to choose from. I’m going to go with killing his wife, Emilia. He’s treated her like dirt the entire play, and when she finally looses it and stands up to him he doesn’t think twice about running her through with a rapier.
Why I chose Iago: As you may have noticed most my Secondary Characters are pretty stand up guys. They all have something going for them…maybe its charm… maybe they have good heart… but there is usually some nice feature that makes me like a character enough to give them the honored Saturday spot. Not so with Iago. Honestly I’m hard pressed to think of anything really nice to say about him. But…it is a really juicy role. He’s the one people remember. It is kind of the Darth Vader effect. You aren’t supposed to like him at all, but he’s the one whose theme song you remember.
Is Iago a SECONDARY character: I often struggle with whether a character is indeed Secondary. And it is hard to make that case with Iago when he is on stage more than any other character in Othello. (He has 1,070 lines.) Without his wicked machinations you’d have a very different/happier story so, unlike other Secondary Characters, he is pivotal to the plot. But, when it comes down to it, the play is called Othello, not Iago. So I’m giving the slimy little so-and-so the nod this week.
I’m feeling very Shakespeare-y today. I had the good fortune to attend the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory‘s Bard’s Birthday Gala last night. We were treated to scenes from their upcoming production of (April 6-27) as well as a 3 person / 20 minute version of Othello. It was a fabulous lesson in suspending disbelief as the actors literally transformed before your eyes from one character another, and it worked beautifully. With a handful of props, no set and no furniture these three actors told the this timeless story in an engaging, new way. Play on! Indeed!