Essay about Lack of Reason in Shakespeare's Othello

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Lack of Reason in Shakespeare's Othello

William Shakespeare presents the character Othello as an excellent leader in the play, Othello. The hero has strength, charisma, and eloquence. Yet Othello cannot reason. The battlefield and Senate are, at least in Othello, depicted as places of honor, where men speak truly. In addition, the matters of war and state are relatively simple; no one lies to Othello, all seem to respect him. He never even has to fight in the play, with the enemy disappearing by themselves. This simplistic view does not help him in matters of the heart. His marriage is based on tall tales and pity and his friendships are never examined; he thinks that anyone who knows him love him. Thus the ultimate evaluation of
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/ Man but a rush against Othello's breast / And he retires." (V.2.320-322) Giving up is hardly Othello's style, but this is how a noble and true man should react when he has mistakenly killed his wife. However, Othello's words give a deeper insight into how he still misunderstands the situation. "Who can control his fate?" he asks, which gives pause to a theory of pure nobility. Placing responsibility in the stars - he calls Desdemona an "ill-starred wench" - is hardly a gallant course of action. (V.2.316, 323) It is beyond a doubt Othello's fault that all of this wreckage befalls him, and his still has not had a moment of recognition of his failures at reasoning and understanding.

Indeed, it is Othello's final soliloquy that ultimately seals his fate as a man who lacks critical thinking skills. This is because these are his final words, and they deal with fact, not emotion. He addresses the reasons behind his downfall, and decides how he wants others to see him, in terms of the story and how he takes responsibility for it. It is a noble speech, and a dubiously noble ending, but still, like Othello, flawed.

The setting for Othello's final moments onstage is critical to how it is perceived by Othello, the other players onstage, and the audience. It lends credence to the nobility of the situation, and adds to Othello's misguided self-perception. The experience, in itself, is