I did the painting above when this question was posed to me, “What was your shining moment onstage in a play?” I, of course, recalled my performance as Iago onstage in Shakespeare’s OTHELLO. As you can see by the photo from the play, Iago’s costume was a red shirt. I was reminded of my insatiable desire to paint with so much red. While some might view the color red as something evil, it is a “passion” color for me, and it is about intensity. Iago had that intensity for sure. Iago’s “passion” was to seek vengeance. However, Iago didn’t understand, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Iago didn’t understand what a lot of people don’t understand. That nothing good can come about seeking vengeance on another, no matter what another has done. Iago didn’t know that. He had the best of intentions to get what he felt was rightly his.
I played Iago NOT as a villain. God no! I didn’t play him as someone who might be coined a villain, because a villain NEVER feels that we they are doing is wrong. They are most assuredly assured, albeit selfishly, that what they want is exactly what they want and need, and they will stop at nothing to get it. Once again, I feel this is a lot of people. Iago felt that he was slighted….and he was. So, having been slighted, he aimed to get what was rightly his. He connived and bargained. The problem Iago ran into was that his sole aim for destruction, Othello, eventually led to the destruction of everyone around Iago, like Othello’s wife, Desdemona, but NOT Othello. Once again, this is a lot of people, who seek vengeance on someone yet end up destroying all those around them but the perpetuator. In the end, Iago connived and bargained more than he could reasonably handle and met an ill-fated fate. The play does not stake claim as to what happened to Iago when the truth was revealed, but I made the choice as the actor to literally spit and snarl at the end of the play, as though Iago had nothing but evil left in him and he was reduced to a spitting and snarling mess of a man deceived by evil. Once again, maybe not as dramatic and intense, man gets tricked and deceived by Satan, too, and can most certainly become nothing but a spitting and snarling mess of a man.
I certainly would never attempt to write a sequel to Shakespeare’s OTHELLO, so that I might inform interested parties and, more importantly, myself about Iago’s future and the end of his existence. But if I had to take a stab at it, being how close I let Iago get to me and vice versa, I would say Iago probably committed suicide, as I am reminded that is what Judas Iscariot did when he had been tricked and deceived by Satan (the Pharisees) into betraying Jesus Christ.
So, this painting is a plea, as most of my paintings seem to be. A plea to educate those that vengeance is INDEED God’s Work and NOT ours. Do not be tricked by all sorts of colors that appear appetizing (and I’m not talking about just red). The trickery can be oh so subtle, I tell you, so please be on guard and watch and wait! Let God seek your vengeance for you. God will repay what you have lost. He did it for Job and in the end gave Job more than he had “bargained” for. God will repay the one who has slighted you (remember Judas?). God will repay what you could never repay no matter how hard you try. It’s the “trying” that will buy you allotted time that I don’t think you would care to spend in so much agony and angst until your end.
Blessings and much love and kindness always,
Timothy J. Verret