Monday, May 28, 2012

The Most Evil Shakespeare Villian

I, Iago: A Novel by Nicole Galland

Summary: Everyone knows Shakespeare's classic tragedy of friendship and betrayal, love and jealousy: Othello. But the real story lies deep in the culture and biases of Venice and the childhood of a young man named Iago who could not escape his status as "runt of the litter" in his family nor his "distasteful" tendencies toward honesty that made him a social outcast.

In Nicole Galland's I, Iago we follow Iago from his childhood days playing pranks with young, naive Roderigo to falling in love with Emilia to betraying his closest friends and family, sealing his fate as one of the most notorious villains of all time.

Review: Adds some depth and history to the character of Iago, but doesn't ring true to the play's Iago. 

I saw this at the library and was instantly intrigued. I like Shakespeare's plays and I've fallen for published fanfiction (my term for retellings, prebook, and afterbook stories about published works) recently. I was hoping this book would give some background on Iago and how he came to be. He is considered to be one of Shakespeare's most evil villains, if not the most evil. Iago is such a vindictive, evil, and spiteful creature, yet is considered so honest by Othello. So, who ever considered him honest?

I enjoyed the first part of this book. I'm sure there are a number of ways to explain how Iago's character came to be. The author picks one and does a good job with it. You can see hints of Iago's jealously and get foreshadowing of his later behavior. You actually start to feel some sympathy for him. Then we get to the events of the play and Iago is determined to get revenge. The author tries to soften his character by having him not wanting to have certain people hurt in his quest for revenge. It just doesn't mesh with his character in the play. It also shows Othello and his fatal flaw, passionate anger.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy retellings or Shakespeare's plays. 


  1. Bummer, sometimes fanbooks are awesome, sometimes not. Thanks for sharing and now i know to skip this one..i love Shakespeare.

    1. I like that term, fanbooks. Yeah, I think this book would be a hit or miss for fans of Shakespeare's plays.