All of the great classical actors of Twentieth Century played Othello like Olivier and Gielgud, but there must have been some shift in the public psyche when it became more advantageous to play Iago. This version of the play focused on contemporary psychology of the characters, and perhaps it’s modern psychology that makes Iago so palatable.
Iago is just pure evil. Modernly, he could be known as a racist yet that really wouldn’t be accurate. Iago hates everybody. He most certainly hates women, dullards and quite frankly the human race in general. Could it be that he hates the Moor more because of the color of his skin. Perhaps. Being passed up for a promotion may be worse if you realize that your opponent is from a class usually discriminated against. It kinda shows you how really unworthy you must have been.
Iago may be a better part to play, but surely Othello is a more difficult part to play. A man in love, who becomes consumed with jealously. A brute. It’s hard to sustain that for three hours.
Like Hedda Gabbler, I felt that I wanted the tragedy to end a different way. It’s all so fatalistic, which is a tendency of my own — to think fate is the cause of all my problems. Why, why do none of the characters start asking questions until the last act? Othello, Desdemona, Emilia Iago’s wife? No one seems concerned with fact until it is too late. I suppose that is exactly what tragedy is — to watch people doomed to their fate slowly undo themselves.