Iago is the Spanish form of the name James, as in Santiago of Compostela.

The most famous use of the name is by Shakespeare in Othello, where Iago is an ensign or 'ancient' who feels he should have been promoted to Lieutenant by the eponymous general. Instead, one Michael Cassio, decried by Iago as a 'mere arithmetician' has got the job. Iago is a real fighting man, and resents the promotion of a man he sees as a pure theorist in the art of war. Iago has a wife named Emilia, whom he suspects of adultery. Iago's paranoia and versatile cunning are the driving forces of the story. Many have claimed Iago is a motiveless villain, but he is not so. His villainy is undisputed - he appears in some versions of the dramatis personae as 'a villain' - but he is strongly motivated by what he perceives as life's injustice to him.

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