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Wangh, M. (1950). Othello: The Tragedy of Iago. Psychoanal Q., 19:202-212.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:202-212

Othello: The Tragedy of Iago

Martin Wangh, M.D.


Shakespeare's Othello is studied as a case history of the psychopathology of Iago. His struggle is against his feminine identification with Desdemona, Othello's wife. The power of the repressed homosexuality causes his jealousy, and drives him to contrive the death of Desdemona, his rival. Several mechanisms of defense are described in Iago's frantic attempts to maintain repression. The tragedy occurs for the very reason that Iago must hide the unacceptable truth from himself. Safety for Iago lies only in ignorance and denial; the affliction is too deep to be resolved. His last words are a final closing of the door.

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