Iago – Othello: INTJ

Othello, William Shakespeare

othello shakespeare mbti intj iago

Dominant Ni: Iago is a master schemer. He knows what he wants and plots in detail how to get it. His plans are long-term, working slowly over time, unchanging with the circumstances, and he carries each step through decisively. He has an intuitive and accurate understanding of how the people around him think, and he uses this to manipulate them, while still having them believe that he is acting in their best interests. He is able to device plans that work because of this understanding. He knows how people will likely react to the plans he puts in motion, and devises his strategies with this in mind. In fact, Iago’s ability to manipulate Othello without the Moore’s knowledge is so extensive that Othello doesn’t really think for himself. Iago has a particularly unique way of manipulating people, however, and it stems from his ability to closely associate with them. The closer he grows to Othello as a supposed friend, the stronger hold his has on him.

othello shakespeare mbti intj iago

Auxiliary Te: Iago’s planning abilities are efficient down to the last second. He doesn’t waste time waiting for the opportune moment to act, but rather, manipulates his environment so that it falls into place for him. Iago has a way with words, allowing him to convince others that he is a better man than he seems. He has a reputation for honesty and reliability (referred to as “honest Iago”), though it is clear that none of these things really embody Iago’s true nature. Likewise, his ability with words serves to convince Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful with Cassio, thereby bringing about Iago’s wicked purposes. Iago is rarely impulsive, but instead goes after what he wants in a methodical, albeit ruthless fashion. Iago is comfortable in leadership positions, as is clear from his military status (which he happens to be unhappy with).

othello shakespeare mbti intj iago

Teriary Fi: Iago understands perfectly well that his true nature is far from the picture of him other people see.  “I am not what I am.” Iago makes decisions based off of his emotions, but then acts upon them logically. He does not usually express his true feelings to others through words. Rather, he acts on those feelings –destroying the people he disagrees with instead of talking it out with them (let alone even mentioning it to them in the first place). He is all about logical strategy, but his plans aren’t logic-driven. They’re driven by his intense hatred for Othello. He seems almost indifferent to any type of morality, but favors evil over good because it suits his plans the best. He does not particularly care whether he lives or dies, but gets extreme pleasure over his successes.

othello shakespeare mbti intj iago

Inferior Se: Iago hardly ever dwells in the past, which is a likely reason for why we never get a glimpse of his true motives for wanting revenge on Othello. He brings up various, and often contradictory reasons for his actions, which suggest that once Iago has decided on a plan of action, he often fails to recall what the original source of motivation was. Iago is able to improvise word-play and joking in the moment in order to accomplish the plans that he has already laid out.

2 thoughts on “Iago – Othello: INTJ

  1. I wonder how difficult/easy would be for a INTJ to build a persona that is charming and kind and keep the smiling mask with his enemies, just like Iago did.
    This brings me to a question for you. Consider a selfish, immature INTJ who fall in love (in a very selfish way, where the “loved” one is a mere object she wants to adquire). Would it be possible for her, despite her cold nature, to fake perfectly an extremely emotional, passionate personality in order to impress and gain the earth of the unlucky guy? Of course everyone is different, but I’d like your opinion on a hypotetic scenario.


    • I think that’d be very possible, although it would probably be very energy draining. More often however, I think INTJs fake charming personas for the sake of efficiency (so that they can get along with their co-workers), or so that their family doesn’t have to worry about whether they’re loved.



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