Have you heard of Deadliest Warrior on Spike? It’s old, and I’m slightly addicted. The premise is to match up two warriors in a vacuum and calculate who is the deadliest. Examples: pirate vs. knight, Nazi vs. Viet Cong, vampires vs. zombies. Weapons are weighed, gore ensues, a winner is determined.
Being the nerd that I am, I found myself deeply in thought this week about a completely non-important fictional topic: was Iago of Othello truly the most evil character ever created? Iago becomes Othello’s most trusted advisor and abuses this trust to create the downfall of Cassio, Othello, and Desdemona with seemingly no remorse. When his wife illuminates his treachery, he kills her. By far, the most evil thing he does is refuse to provide any explanation to Othello–he vows to remain silent forever.
What the hell, Iago??????
Iago is working with some serious mental weaponry here. But is he more evil than Cathy Ames of East of Eden? I wanted to match these two up, Deadliest Warrior style.
Cathy murders her parents by burning them alive in their home, then walks away without a second thought. She frames two boys for raping her, she manipulates countless men into ruining their lives for her. When Adam Trask earnestly tries to love her, she waits long enough to deliver his brother‘s child, then shoots him in cold blood and leaves him to die. She rises the ranks in a new whorehouse, murders the madam who loved her and uses her home to torture and twist souls.
The Most Evil
Based on the body count alone, I wouldn’t get close to either of these two. Both are capable of manipulating others into murdering for them, both have killed those closest to them. Cathy is a mother, which somehow makes her “malformed soul” that much more horrific. As she ages, her weakness shows and she becomes arthritic. We see her internal pain and a slightly human side to her. Iago makes several grand speeches about how envy drives his actions, which have led some to call him simply jealous. For me, Iago’s greatest weapon is his refusal to explain. In the last act, he purposely leaves Othello bewildered. He will remain bewildered forever, and this is the most evil secret weapon. Iago wins Deadliest Warrior. No swollen-handed Cathy Ames is going to out manipulate Iago.
But are either of them as single-mindedly terrifying as Annie Wilkes of Misery? A game for another day.