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Iago and Our Perceptions of Evil

This was a very interesting look at a production of Othello put on by the New York Theatre Workshop and how Iago, one of Shakespeare’s most famous villains, is being portrayed. From the article:

Iago, the greatest, perhaps, of Shakespeare’s villains, and certainly the most inscrutable in his motivations, has long posed a special challenge. In recent productions he has been rendered modern (which is to say, not purely evil in the original, metaphysical sense) through complex psychological contrivances. Bob Peck has portrayed him as “a hate machine created by the slow, dehumanizing process of professional warfare”; David Suchet as a repressed homosexual, “deeply in love with Othello and manically jealous of Desdemona”; Anthony Sher as a man with “a severe sexual hang-up,” whose uncontrollable, morbid jealousy is aroused by the belief that Othello has slept with his wife.

In Sam Gold’s subtly intelligent new Othello at the New York Theatre Workshop, however, we find a more disturbing interpretation, one that perhaps (and unfortunately) makes it the necessary production for our times. Daniel Craig’s Iago is not a psychopath, or a victim of trauma, or a man deluded about right and wrong. He makes a choice. He chooses moral insensibility and viciousness.

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I love this interpretation. Also read the rest of the article detailing David Oyelowo’s Othello and the racial aspects of the play.

A great read for a snowy Saturday.

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