Friday, June 15, 2007


The pouring out of my heart and soul in my favorites post yielded only one comment, which is fine, but makes that comment to not go unheeded.

Katie commented "Why is Iago your favorite 'Speare character? I am simultaneously piqued and repulsed."

I wanted to choose a character I could relate to, and sadly I couldn't really do so with any of the people in the Comedies I'm familiar with, maybe Bernard? in Much Ado About Nothing. So this left me with the Tragedies, the Histories, and the others. My life isn't that historical, and if I'm ever on an Island with only my daughter and a monster for a companion, maybe I'll think about choosing Prospero. This leaves me with the Tragedies, of which I'm more familiar with Hamlet and Othello. I like Laertes and Horatio from the former, but they didn't really come to mind when I was doing my post, nor would they have topped Iago if they were in my mind with him.

So that brings us to Iago. Part of my affection for him comes from a misunderstanding I had of "ancient." In his case, it doesn't mean old, but something more like veteran. While quite devious, he needs a great deal of intelligence and wisdom to pull off all the finagling that he does. His animus seems to come not just of jealousy but merely inborn, like Billy Budd's (another character I had misconceptions about for a while; not black) nemesis Claggart. Iago's ability to manipulate so powerful a man as Othello is also admirable. According to Wikipedia, he also has the most lines of any non-lead, notwithstanding Falstaff's multiple appearances. That doesn't make me like him more, but does provide a lot of material with which to acquaint myself. Plus I like the name. I've always thought it would be nice to have a Great Dane with the name of Iago. I hope this satisfies that prick and unpulses you Katie.



At June 16, 2007 3:35 PM, Blogger Wishydig said...

Well this prick is satisfied.

"Favorite" is such an empty word ethically. I read that and figured it was similar to my stance that if I could choose to play any Shakespearean character it would be Polonious. Partly because he's so disgusting.

Iago is a fine choice. Buffy and I had a discussion the other day about good villains. And Iago is up there in many ways but one thing keeps him from rising in my list: He's too capable. He's so aware of what he's doing and so in control.

The spleneticism of my visceral reaction to him is tempered by the fact that he's ultimately very adept. That lessens the intensity of my dislike. I can only disagree with his values and that rarely invokes my anger.

At June 16, 2007 10:16 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

So for you a good villain is one who invokes your anger? Does Claggart, who seems to have that "motiveless malignance" fit the bill better, or is he not evil enough?

For me a good villain needs some vileness and some unprovoked animosity. That is why I'm more impressed with Iago, because he is in control. He is very conscious, yet the bile pours hence, we know not.

At June 17, 2007 10:19 PM, Blogger Katie said...

I've always wanted a great dane. Iago would be a good name for one, although if I were to choose, it'd probably need to have a happier name. "Iago" just conjures up too many "death by torture" images for my liking.

I don't think I told you that a few weeks ago, the day after you told us about your co-worker Mike's dog Captain Jack, I overheard the exact same story only from a female perspective while at work. It took me a while to make the connection between Kandra and your story; I didn't really connect the similarities until she said his name. It made me laugh--I guess it's a small world after all.

At June 18, 2007 2:24 AM, Anonymous michael said...

I don't know Billy Budd well enough to react to Claggart.

I don't know why it is but some of the most heralded villains just don't do much for me. Darth Vader is so boring. Hannibal Lechter is so obvious.

I've not yet figured out what makes me react to a character's villainy. I'm pretty sure there has to be some failure in the character. Not just an opposition to the hero but an unaware opposition to the self. I think.

At June 18, 2007 2:25 AM, Anonymous michael as copyeditor said...

I meant 'Lecter'

At June 19, 2007 10:35 AM, Blogger Wee Katie said...

Thank you, Michael. Your former spelling was too close to my last name. And thank you, Daniel, for your response. Iago is so fascinatingly bad--I just hope you don't think you are the same. You're just fascinatingly brilliant. But for now, I am unpulsed (and non-pricked).

At June 19, 2007 12:52 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I don't think we are the same; I'm not nearly as intelligent as he is at reading and compelling people.

So who is your favorite "'Speare" character?

At June 25, 2007 3:52 PM, Blogger Buffy Turner said...



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