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Lander, J. (1950). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 19:292-293.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:292-293

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Joseph Lander

November 29, 1949. OTHELLO: THE TRAGEDY OF IAGO. Martin Wangh, M.D.

Contrary to the customary view, Wangh presents Iago as the central figure and prime moving force of the tragedy. The ostensible bases of Iago's violent hostility toward Othello and Desdemona are examined and rejected: neither resentment at having been slighted in the matter of promotion nor cuckolding can explain his relentless and ultimately successful plot to murder Desdemona. Instead Iago's hatred is examined in the light of psychoanalytic theories of jealousy. Iago creates an uproar on Othello's nuptial night and twice subsequently, under conditions indicating a desire to disturb the marital relationship—the primal scene is thrice repeated. In fact, in the original story on which the tragedy is based, Iago hides in a closet while Othello is in bed with his bride. The obsessive quality of Iago's hatred, replacing his former love for Othello, arouses suspicion. So also does Iago's accusation that Desdemona, his rival for Othello, also loves Cassio. In these fantasies Dr. Wangh finds a projection of Iago's unconscious homosexual wishes for Othello and Cassio. A dream concocted by Iago, intended to rouse Othello's suspicions of his wife, is an obvious homosexual wish fulfilment.

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