AN: Hello again, all you wonderful Othello fans! So...in case the title doesn't make it obvious, this is NOT another essay; it's a little venture into the strange mind of that wretched villain, Iago. I wanted to delve into his motivations in a different way, and I hope I did him justice….
Notes: If the prose seems disjointed, don't condemn me; I wanted to capture the roiling, convoluted, mad maelstrom of thoughts hiding beneath his cool, collected facade. Also, the italicized Spanish segments are Iago's thoughts.
Disclaimer: I DEFINITELY don't own Othello.
No está la maldad. No está los celos. No está el deseo, o odio, o algo de eso. Solamente está el amor. Sencillo como eso.
X X X
The hall leading to the officers' quarters was black as pitch, and the faint stench of smoke and tallow wafted slowly from its mouth, an insidious, quiet poison. Silence covered the entire Citadel like a cloak, broken only by the pacing of the guards, the breaths and snores of Cypriots, Venetians, foreigners, and mercenaries trapped in slumber, and the muffled moans, cries, and whimpers coming from the chamber at the end of the hall, echoing loud and long like the screams of tortured prisoners.
If only, if only it were that; the screams of tortured prisoners would be considerably easier for his mind and ears to bear than...this. Those wretched animal grunts, and breathy female wails...they were sounds not of pain, but of lust. Passion. Love. Curse the Moor; he sullied the very air with the sounds of his unholy copulation; the mere thought of that damned union made him sick.
Othello did not deserve such happiness, such contentment...such love. Why should he, when he had spurned a bond of brotherhood and devotion so deep it was infrangible, for a fleeting, whirlwind romance held together only by base attraction and mutual fascination with the strangeness of the other? Why should he, when he had conspired with a thrice-damned dandy to reach the object of his desires, his lust? Why should he, when he, the noble, valiant Moor, was nothing but a mendacious traitor?
X X X
¡Que debería haber sido yo! ¡Yo lo amaba, mucho más que Desdemona, o Cassio, o alguien más! Yo moriría por ti...pero ahora, ahora…. Ay, maldito seas, Othello…¿como puedo amarte ahora?
X X X
Iago did not fancy himself a stranger to deception, nor did he consider himself averse to it. How could he, when he was up to his ears in it now? Up to his ears...but not drowning, no. He was keeping his own ship carefully afloat, and buoying up those of others while subtly sinking them from beneath...o atrás, si quieres. And all it took to do so was words. A whisper here, a dropped hint there, weaving a great web of secrets and lies that would trap them all: Othello, Cassio, Desdemona...but not him. No spider had ever been stupid enough to weave itself into its own web.
All he needed was time...and here in Cyprus, he had time aplenty. This warlike isle, with its peoples' hearts brimful of fear, was the perfect place to stage his ultimate perfidy.
X X X
No; no llámalo una traición. ¡Es un espectáculo, una obra maestra! Un juego...y ellos están mis piezas, mis peones. Nada más.
X X X
He needed to convince himself of that...it would not be such a difficult thing to go about playing with men's lives like some diabolical puppeteer if he did. Actually, some dark, twisted part of himself, hidden only by the greatest strength of will, rather liked the image that thought wrought: his lean, scarred hands clutching the operating crosses, standing above the heathen darkness of Cyprus, where cultured diplomacy had no place, and only primal emotion ruled. His long, thin fingers moving the dumb little marionettes across the stage of the island, fondling black Othello and polished Cassio, gently caressing white Desdemona, throwing hapless Roderigo about. His jagged knife, cutting the strings at his fancy.
X X X
Cuatro marionetas pequeñas, bailando en sus plataformas. Sus cuerdas yo cortaré...y sus vidas yo tomaré.
X X X
Yes, the malevolent side of him liked that vision quite well. But the other side of him, the blunt, just soldier who had loved his general more than words could describe (who had loved his general too much), the man who truly was 'Honest Iago (what was left of him, anyway),' chafed at the thought, protested vehemently the manipulation, the dishonesty, the destruction, the death. It was not right, his weaker voice cried. There was no need to kill anyone, no need to destroy all those innocent lives...but that voice was getting weaker, crushed beneath the weight of rage and betrayal...
¡No es la destrucción! he wanted to shout, to drown out the whispers of conscience that plagued him. What he was doing was just retribution, revenge if you like, to but make Othello play for the wrong he'd done! Going behind Iago's back, keeping his closest friend ignorant, plotting with Cassio, spurning his love for the whims of an enamored Desdemona. Rewarding Cassio- a soused, womanizing fop with no battle experience whatsoever- with his lieutenancy, for aiding and abetting the deception. Betraying him, denying him, call it what you will. The list went on and on.
X X X
Estoy cansado...demasiado cansado. No tengo bastante energía para continuar con este farsa, haciéndolo creer en mi amor y honestidad eterno. Tengo que actuar rápidamente…. Othello necesita pagar por todo lo que hizo a mí, y yo voy a hacerle pagar. Eso es todo...todo que yo necesito hacer.
X X X
Enough. He had no room for doubts. Shaking his head to clear it of the momentary weakness, Iago forced himself to rise, forced himself to enter the darkened hall, forced himself to walk to Othello's occupied chamber. His feet, though unsteady in the aftermath of his wearying mental tirade, made no sound on the cool stone floor, and he paused unnoticed outside the chamber. He willed himself to stand there, listening coldly to the barbaric screams of the star-crossed lovers within, and felt any trace of doubt or mercy rush from his mind at the sound. Anger and abandonment burned all the weakness away, leaving in its place an icy, profound resolve. Mercy was no longer an option. All that would suffice was total destruction.
Perhaps his methods were less than honorable, but the end justified the means...and what was justice without a little power play? His role in this unfortunate drama was a prominent one; he held sway over all the players, and, if he was honest with himself, the weight of that power, which he had thought such an exhausting burden, now seemed intoxicating to bear. Heavy though it was, it was addictive, thrilling, like some strange drug, and he was more than a little disinclined to give it up now, for the sake of goodness or integrity. Virtue was, after all, a fig.
Well. Iago's mind is a draining place. That said, I hope you enjoyed this!
Translation time! We'll go my big sections first, and then do some miscellaneous...things.
Section 1: It is not wickedness. It is not jealousy. It is not desire, or hatred, or any of that. It is only love. Simple as that.
Section 2: It should have been me! I loved him, much more than Desdemona, or Cassio, or anyone else! I would die for you...but now, now…. Ay, damn you, Othello...how can I love you now?
Section 3: No; no, don't call it a betrayal. It is a show, a masterpiece! A game...and they are my pieces, my pawns. Nothing more.
Section 4: Four little puppets, dancing on their stages. Their strings I will cut...and their lives I will take.
Section 5: I am tired...too tired. I don't have enough energy to continue with this farce, making him believe in my eternal love and honesty. I have to act quickly…. Othello needs to pay for all that he's done to me, and I will make him pay. That is all...all that I need to do.
O atrás, si quieres: Or behind, if you want
No es la destrucción: It is not destruction
Um...my Spanish is far from perfect, so if you have some corrections, don't hesitate to tell me.
I could probably write a dissertation on what I was trying to achieve, but I'll be a nice author and let you make of it what you will. :)