His machinations seem to have no driving motive behind and it seems that Iago’s manipulation and chaos is only for the mere sake of his amusement and for the sake of chaos, a true aspect of a devil. This is reflected in the quote where Othello tells Iago at the end of the play, “If that thou be’st a devil, then I cannot kill thee”. Also Iago’s manipulation is further explored in the soliloquy “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse… ” where Iago dupes Roderigo to give Iago his money and in the quote “By Janus, I think no”, a reference by Shakespeare to demonstrate that Iago is “two faced”.
Iago’s manipulation of Roderigo can be compared to Iago being the puppet master and Roderigo is one of Iago’s many puppets. Iago’s soliloquies’ seem to be the only part where Iago acts true to himself and through the use of dramatic irony; the audience is able to see the machinations of Iago. Iago’s deemed evil because he has no driving motive behind his duplicit actions where Othello says “Will you I pray, demand that demi-devil, why he hath ensnared my soul and body” and to which Iago replies “From this time forth I never will speak a word”.
The quote “I have’t. It is engender’d Hell and night, must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light” and Iago’s continuous reference to the devil and hell reflects the evil nature of Iago. Oliver Parker’s Othello (1995) presents the play in its classic setting but adjusted for a contemporary audience. The characters of Othello and Iago are still preserved. In the beginning of the movie, the haunting music and the dark atmosphere is a foreshadowing of the chaos that is yet to hit Venice.
The black man in the gondola donning on a mask symbolises Iago’s manipulation of the characters of the movie. The movie’s employment of camera shots and shadows are an important aspect which enhances the characterisation of Othello and Iago. For example, when Iago is seen to be whispering in Othello’s ear or Roderigor’s, it is evident that only half of his face is shown. This exemplifies the two-faced nature of Iago and the reference to Janus, the two-faced Roman God in Shakespeare’s text. The chess board scene is portrayed twice in the movie.
In the first depiction, Iago is viewed at a low angle shot to show him standing over a chess board with a black king, a white queen and a white knight. This shot symbolises that Iago is a “puppet master”. The chess pieces represent Othello, Desdemona and Cassio respectively, while the chess board represent Iago’s manipulative machinations is a game to him and that he manipulates for the sake of his amusement. The second chess board scene depicts Iago sweeping the black king and white queen off the chessboard. This represent Iago’s manipulation will e the downfall of Othello and Desdemona’s relationship and that Iago is a puppet master. Much uses of costuming and lighting is employed. When Othello and Iago are next to each other, Othello is seemed to be wearing a white robe whereas Iago is donning dark clothes. This is an immediate juxtaposition between the characterisation of Othello and Iago. The white robe is a symbol of purity and good, whereas the dark clothes are a symbol of evil and manipulation. Iago tends to carry out his schemes in the shadows as reflected in the armoury scene, where Iago is seen to whisper “poison” into Othello’s ears.
In this scene, again Iago’s only half of Iago’s face is shown and this again exemplifies that he is “two-faced”. As Othello increasingly succumbs to Iago’s lies, his costume becomes dark, which exemplifies that Iago’s manipulation and evil is tainting Othello’s mind and soul. Iago’s survival at the end of the play, exemplifies that evil cannot be truly destroyed and that it is an aspect that is everlasting. Oliver Parker’s film and Shakespeare’s play, both illustrate common aspects compared with the Marginalisation reading.
Othello is a black man who is trying to assimilate with Venetian society. His taking of a Venetian wife (Desdemona), his military status of Venice and his well-spoken dialect which amplifies nobility within Othello, all reflect this assimilation. This is demonstrated also in the scene where a black man is in a gondola donning a mask. The marginalisation of Othello is reflected in Iago’s and Roderigo’s discussion in the beginning where they abuse Othello as being “thick-lipped”, “hated Moor”, “a Barbary horse” and they later link him to “an old black ram”.
The racial side of Othello also works in another way, as a difference in cultural and social understanding between Othello and other Venetians, which makes Othello insecure about his position in the Venetian society. When Brabantio accuses Othello of crimes that are supposedly stereotypical of his race – “witchcraft” and “practices of cunning hell”- , it is not really witchcraft that Othello is accused of, but because of his race and outsider status. Othello’s outsider status is a key aspect that helps Iago’s manipulation.
The movie also enhances the reading by portraying Othello as having a big physique, earrings, tattoos and bright costuming which makes Othello stand out more. In conclusion the main themes and values of Othello are evil and manipulation and how evil continues. Also marginalisation plays a major role in the tragedy. The main character Iago can be said to be an embodiment of the devil where he manipulates just for the sake of his amusement but also his survival is an indication that evil is continuous.