Abigail WIlliams and Iago: Master VIllains
Monday, April 15, 2013
Abigail Williams and Iago: Master Villains Villains play a very important role in every literary work. Whether they exist as people, circumstances, or even nature, their purpose is to provide a problem to be solved by the “good guys”. Without villains, no piece of literature would be worth reading. Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello are master villains. Both antagonists are fuelled by thoughts of revenge, and rely heavily on deception and manipulation to get what they want. Both Abigail and Iago are deceptive characters, which clearly illustrates their villainous nature. Abigail begins to show this destructive quality very
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When she finds it lying on the ground, she brings it to Iago, who puts it in Cassio’s lodging. Knowing that Cassio does indeed have the handkerchief in his possession, he tells Othello, “I know not that; but such a handkerchief-/ I am sure it was your wife’s- did I today/ See Cassio wipe his beard with” (Othello.3.3.438-440). Iago is well aware that Othello is naturally jealous, and so he preys on this flaw. But he does not stop there; while pretending to be Cassio’s friend, and so reluctant to say anything bad about him, he feigns loyalty to Othello. Reluctantly Iago tells Othello, “In sleep I heard him say, ‘Sweet Desdemona,/ Let us be wary, let us hide our loves.’/ And then, sir, he would gripe and wring my hand,/ Cry, ‘O sweet creature!’ and then kiss me hard, As if he pluck’d up kisses by the roots/ That grew upon my lips; then laid his leg/ Over my thigh, and sigh’d, and kiss’d, and then/ Cried, ‘Cursed fate that gave thee to the Moor’ “ (Othello.3.3.420-427). Iago is painting a vivid picture in Othello’s mind, ensuring that Othello’s jealous rage will be awakened against Cassio and Desdemona. Therefore, Abigail and Iago both unveil their villainous natures through their deceitfulness. Another characteristic of villains that both Abigail and Iago exemplify is their manipulative nature. Abigail manipulates the people that are supposed to be her friends freely and without remorse.