Playing both the roles of Othello and Iago by well-known actors demonstrates this as with the case of Lawrence Olivier and Ben Kingsley, among many others. There are instances wherein actors would prefer to play Iago instead of Othello, the lead role. This paper will determine why this is case.
By far, it is believed that Iago is the representation of the best villain in Shakespeare’s plays because of his character’s presentation of himself as someone who is devoid of a conscience and who does evil because of a personal purpose. He is not characterized as immoral but as an amoral character because he doesn’t feel guilt but revels in the way he is able to pull down all of his victims, which are basically all the characters around him. A lot of people will agree that Iago is the biggest non-title role in all of Shakespeare’s plays. His importance rivaled that of Othello and the role is considered plum in all respects. Indeed, what makes Iago interesting and even ore important than the principal character is that he is not only drawn exceedingly complex underneath his boldly drawn outline but also that Shakespeare’s multitudinous thoughts about him, as he wrote and attempt to express each of his thoughts, despite the fact that it was only in interjected phrases, making him more memorable and complex as what was originally intended.
No major tragic actor before the latter part of the nineteenth century elected to risk his reputation by choosing to play Iago in preference to Othello because of the perceived notion that the lead role offered the more challenge and depth that could showcase an actor’s skills. (Shakespeare and Neill 2006, 72) This has changed however by the early twentieth century when portrayals of the character was expected to have a degree of depth and intelligence in the character.
There is a popular anecdote known by actors and related to us by Hodgdon and Worthen and tells of a prominent