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I play the villian - A comparison of Iago and Uriah Heep

Uploaded by joe on Dec 13, 1999

Evil is not an entity that lends itself to quantification. However, there are various ways to measure levels of malevolence, and there are certainly some baseline requirements that one must meet to be truly evil. Therefore, I present six guidelines to evil: conscience, understanding, method, reason, effectiveness, and response. These will be elaborated on in turn. Before we begin analyzing characters, note that two elements of the six are basic necessities for an individual to be considered evil - one, he must understand the full implications of what he is doing, and two, he must not hesitate because of conscience or internal goodness. The former represents a sign of naivete, the latter a sign of virtue. However, it is safe to say that both Iago of Othello and Uriah Heep of David Copperfield are both aware and willful. And although Iago may appear more villainous, it is really Uriah Heep who embodies the soul of Satan.

The guidelines of conscience and understanding, already addressed, are fairly even with Iago and Uriah. Both fully understand the consequences of their actions, and neither cares about the destruction of lives, family, or property of others. But the actual methods they use are vastly different, and here is where the difference begins. Iago seeks the destruction of Othello, and he attains it by feigning honesty and using everyone around him as a repository for Iago's lies and deceptions. Uriah Heep seeks the destruction of Mr. Wickfield through feigning honesty, but he uses blackmail as his weapon, not gossip. Everything for Uriah is held close to his chest; until Micawber comes, no one knows anything of his methods. Certainly the method for evil, while a deciding factor in wickedness, is a stylistic manner. It is important, but not in determining whether Iago or Uriah is a more sinful character. But the method affects every other measurable aspect of transgression, so it must be stated.

The first quantifiable characteristic of evil is reason - the basis the character has for committing his sins. It may appear initially that those with no good reason for their actions, i.e. Iago, are more evil, but that is a path too easily taken. If the embodiment of evil is Satan, then to decide the matter, one must examine what Satan does. His reason for creating Hell is sensible: he wanted to rule, not be ruled. For his transgressions against humanity, he is...

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Uploaded by:   joe

Date:   12/13/1999

Category:   Othello

Length:   4 pages (1,006 words)

Views:   2073

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