The first thing that struck me when I started reading Othello, was that it seemed worlds away from the largely comic Much Ado About Nothing. But as I continued to read the first act, I did note that just as in Much Ado About Nothing, many of the characters in Othello are deceiving the others; the principle deceiver being Iago. Unlike in Much Ado where Don John's deceptions are figured out and righted, Iago's ability to deceive downright everyone thus far has me convinced that this might be the kind of play where the villain triumphs.
The source of Iago's hate for his master, Othello, is apparently all due to his feeling slighted at being overlooked for the position of lieutenant. This propels Iago to seek revenge on not only Cassio and Othello, but apparently everyone they associate with. I wonder though if Iago has any other motivation for such serious general malicious intent. At first I thought that Iago's disdain for Othello particularly might be based in somehow in racism, as everyone seems to make note of Othello's skin color- but I think this wouldn't really account for Iago's hatred for everyone else as well. I think that maybe the only explanation is in Act I scene I, where Iago says of his loyalty to Othello:
In following him, I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end. (I.i.58-60)
Iago has no true loyalty to anyone but himself, but he also says that "heaven is [his] judge" which to me means that Iago is saying that he has no reverence for God or Heaven, because he still intends to act in whatever way pleases him. Iago makes himself more enigmatic as he goes on, saying that the day that he shows his true nature is the day that he lets crows peck out his heart (I.i.61-64). As Iago concludes his passage with "I am not what I am", I'm left wondering how Iago sees himself and how we are meant to see him. If Iago tells us that he is a villain, but then says that his identity is unstable, then I'm curious to see if he will purely be a villain over the course of the play or if at some point he'll express some sort of pathos.