Analyzing Humanity in 'Othello': The Reason Why it is Still Worth Studying

1675 Words Feb 7th, 2018 7 Pages
David Allen White of the US Naval Academy asserts that "we are all Iago now" (White 2000). The claim may seem outlandish at first. Modern man representative of Shakespeare's greatest arch-villain? How could one even suggest such a thing? White's argument is followed by a series of points, each of which is aimed to help his audience realize that the character they most readily identify with is not Othello (the tragic hero of the drama) but Iago (both the driving comedic force behind the play and the driving antagonist). The reason White is able to make such a claim is that Iago, for all his treachery, is still one of Shakespeare's most human characters: he is brilliantly witty, outrageously funny, a rhetorical genius, possessed of petty jealousies which he insists on acting upon, full of pride, which he will cling to even if it means his own destruction, and most importantly an admitted schizoid "I am not what I am" (1.1.71) and a professed self-serving, self-idolater: "In following him, I follow but myself" (1.1.64). This speech will use the character of Iago as a launching point for a greater discussion on why it is that Shakespeare's Othello has stood the test of time and is still worthy studying today. I make the claim that it has done so and is so because of its incomparable ability to represent what it is to be human a representation very dear to us who live in a world that appears to be in most constant…
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