Iago, Krogstad and the Degeneration of Marital Relationships
Iago and Krogstad
Iago and Krogstad, while both being antagonists within their respective plays Othello and A Doll’s House, do not share many traits, nor resort to the same actions, or have the same ambitions. In fact, both can be considered to be total opposites with respect to characterization. This reflects the great change that literary conventions have undergone from the time of Shakespeare to Ibsen.
Nevertheless, both characters contribute greatly to the marital separations and/or disintegrations present in both plays, although at varying extents and motives. In both plays, these antagonists have succeeded ...view middle of the document...
|… For “Certes,” says he,| “I have already chose my officer.”| And what was he?| Forsooth, a great arithmetician,| One Michael Cassio, a Florentine| (A fellow almost damned in a fair wife)| That never set a squadron in the field,| Nor the division of a battle knows| More than a spinster.”
This sentiment of Iago made him accustomed to duplicity, obeying Othello, even advising him, when his master was around, but plotting to kill him the moment he turns his back. Iago’s duplicitous nature, in fact, becomes the play’s main instrument for plot development: his sheer hatred for his master caused him to betray and kill a lot of people, including his wife, without remorse.
This hatred was fueled by two other things: his ambition and his jealousy. His desire to take his master’s place sprung from his own ambitious nature: “Cassio's a proper man: let me see now: To get his place and to plume up my will In double knavery – How, how? Let's see”. He believed himself superior to most men, which enabled him to play with other lives as if they were mere pawns. His jealousy also played a great part in his hatred: a rumor about his wife sleeping with Othello (which is essentially the same type he used against Othello) enraged him so much that he just had to get back at him: “But partly led to diet my revenge, For that I do suspect the lusty Moor Hath leap'd into my seat…”.
It can be said that Iago was mostly driven by blind rage, the result of which was a deliberate hand towards the destruction of Othello and Desdemona’s marriage; a feat which began with severed trusts and ended with the loss of lives.
The same, however, cannot be said of Krogstad, who did not deliberately participate in the degeneration of Nora and Torvald’s marriage. The only thing he did was reveal that degeneration, but even that was not done deliberately.
Krogstad’s main motivation was partly out of revenge, much like Iago’s but not entirely so. His was done mainly in order to secure his position in the company and preserve his status socially: “Listen to me, Mrs. Helmer. If necessary, I am prepared to fight for my small post in the Bank as if I were fighting for my life… It is not only for the sake of the money; indeed, that weighs least with me in the matter”. Furthermore, he had the grounds to hassle Nora because she did owe him and had deceived him prior to the play’s main predicament. That said, Krogstad was only looking to preserve his own interests, even perhaps his family: “Nora: Show it, then; think of my little children.| Krogstad. Have you and your husband thought of mine?”. He neither showed interest in destroying their marriage deliberately; he never even thought of that as a consequence of his actions.
But such was the case...