Yesterday's conversation about Macbeth was fun. While talking it over with a coworker, I realize I contradicted myself. I took the position that "I don't believe in characters as inherently evil. Well....except Iago. He's just a nasty bastard."
So, let's talk about Iago relative to what we were saying about Macbeth. Is Iago just a regular guy who lets his demons get the better of him? Is it really all about getting passed over for a promotion, or some underlying racism? Or is Iago just a sociopath who really and truly chooses to destroy people's lives just because he can, and never through the entire thing feels a bit of doubt or remorse about it? For the record, I believe the latter.
Macbeth is the tragic hero. He needs some degree of redemption at the end, we need to feel something for him. But Iago is the villain. We don't necessarily need to look at him with the same eyes. So what is he? Just a man who wants revenge? Or a monster?