Is the character of Lago in the Play Othello a Literally Example of a Psychopath? - Essay Prowess

Is the character of Lago in the Play Othello a Literally Example of a Psychopath?


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15th July 2020

Is the character of Lago in the Play Othello a Literally Example of a Psychopath?

Othello is a play written by Shakespeare in 1603. The storyline is graded on two people, one who is the general in a Venetian army and another who is a military soldier. The general takes the name Othello and Lago is the ensign. Their wives are also part of the play and the drama revolves between the general, his wife, a lieutenant, and the ensign with his wife. The play also talks about Othello as a Moor his wife, Desdemona who was naïve and that is why she was plotted as the target of the antagonist. Desdemona was told to be cheating on her husband. Lago is the one who came up with the notion of Desdemona cheating on Othello with Michael Cassio. Othello’s character suited a black man hence the word Othello itself is not derived from the whites. The black skin-color would have also signified the evil heart that Othello had even though he is not the villain in this play. Lago on the other hand is a manipulator, dictator, and bad influencer, he is seen to be a psychopath and the villain in the play.

Lago is portrayed to have no regard for other people’s feelings, he convinced Othello that his wife was having an affair and got Othello to believe him and take action. Lago did not consider how Cassio; the Lieutenant would feel or Desdemona up to the lies put on them because he is a narcissistic and takes advantage of the fact that Othello was trustworthy and thought of everyone truthful. Lago was obsessed with power and that is why he hated Othello so much. Lago planned to put Othello down and the first move was to use Othello’s wife, by insinuating that she was cheating on Othello. Lago’s evil deeds make him the villain of this play.

Lago, being the antagonist of the play, he is a liar and a deceiver, he ends up killing his wife because she told the truth about his acts. Emilia, the wife to Lago is stabbed by her husband from the back after she reveals the whole truth between Desdemona and Cassio; they were not having an affair at all. Lago is the one who had sent Emilia to steal Desdemona’s handkerchief and place it on Cassio and that was the proof that Lago had used to convince Othello that Desdemona and the lieutenant were having an affair. In Act I scene iii, L ago had suspected that his wife slept with Othello, (369-370).

Roderigo was in love with Desdemona, therefore Lago promises that he would help him win her heart after doing one thing, killing Cassio. So, Lago sends Roderigo to kill Cassio because he knew Cassio had information that would destroy him by portraying his untrue information. Roderigo fails to complete his task and Lago sees him as a liability and ends up killing him. This only proves that Lago is a deceiver. Roderigo was one of Lago’s boys to do his dirty work.

            Lago’s trait is based on destroying people, his main motive was to put down Othello. Lago destroyed his wife by putting her to lie and when she told the truth, it costed her life. Roderigo was also in the mix of being ruined because he was promised something that was never to be delivered, Desdemona’s heart. When Roderigo failed on the task given, it cost him life also. Even if it wasn’t possible, Lago’s promise to destroy Othello’s marriage was still evil. Lago character was painted in evil writing from the beginning to the end, psychopathic character.

Lies, deceive, narcissistic, and destroying people are some traits of a psychopath, in this case, Lago.

Symptoms of a psychopath are, no regrets, no guilty feeling and they lack empathy in their deeds and also, they have a low effect on emotions.  Mostly, men are the psychopathic ones especially at the age of 18 and above. Psychopathic people have pride and ego at the highest level because Sigmund Freud’s theory argued that personality is built according to the structures of a human mind which comprises, identity, ego, and superego.

A person’s identity is comprised of instincts, two of them which are Eros and Thanatos. Eros is the living instinct that enables humans to do all the normal activities such as eating while Thanatos is the instinct that triggers aggression and violence. Being that Eros helps in surviving, it out-do the running of Thanatos in a normal human being but in the psychopathic type of people, Thanatos tries to keep up with the activities of Eros and that is why psychopaths are don’t cares. Giving an example with Lago, whose temper was always on the fingertips acting on violence without further ado.

When we talk about ego in human structure, it operates to meet the identity of a human, the ego is formed after birth and functions even when unconscious. It follows reality and focus, the psychopathic character has an issue with their ego hence it overdoes its work and its weak doesn’t make decisions based on reality.

The superego structure grows in early childhood and it is the one that results in responsible behavior. It ensures morality and other social responsibilities hence in the psychopathic type of people, it’s weak since they never make their decision based on responsibility or morals. That is why Lago was comfortable destroying others and didn’t feel guilty or bothered.

 In conclusion, analysis shows that a large percentage of psychopaths are made up of men due to their aggressiveness. Men as the head of the families and leaders have a natural ego that comes with it although sometimes it gets beyond the limits and uncontrollable. Sigmund Freud indicated that talk therapy is one way to treat psychopathic disorders since people with this disorder are usually born with it. In childhood, the disorder is not fully developed but if studied keenly, one can identify children with the psychopathic disorder and try to shape it up before it blows up during adulthood. It is quite challenging for the psychopaths to love due to lack of empathy but if the disorder is noticed early and control measures put in, it can be handled.

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