Essay Morality and Immorality in Othello

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Morality and Immorality in Othello

William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello presents to the audience a picture of many different shades of morality and immorality. It is the purpose of this essay to elaborate in detail on this thesis.

Roderigo’s opening lines to Iago in Act 1 Scene 1 take us to the very root of the problem:

Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly

That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse

As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this. (1.1)

In other words, the wealthy playboy has been paying off the ancient for the soldier’s intercession with Desdemona on behalf of Roderigo. This payoff has been in progress before the play begins, and it continues
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Later, Desdemona suspects that his influence is the reason why Cassio is awarded the governorship of Cyprus and Othello is recalled home. Even in the first two scenes it is apparent that Iago’s lust for money has set in motion a series of events that are snowballing into something more and more tragic.

Alongside this chain of events triggered by the avarice of Iago is another chain of events springing from innocence and morality. They center around the characters of Desdemona and Othello: She leaves her selfish father to share her love with the ideal man. He calmly rebuts the accusations, some prejudicial in nature, against his conduct toward Desdemona. She defends the Moor’s moral integrity and her own in front of the council; he does likewise. She unselfishly agrees to live with another family while her husband is busied in the war with the Turks; he concurs in this sacrifice. While waiting with Emilia and Iago at Cyprus, she heroically calls the ancient a “slanderer” and comes to the aid of his wife, who has been repeatedly downtrodden and hit upon by Iago. When the general’s ship arrives safely into the Cyprus port, he immediately greets his wife before anyone else, “O my fair warrior!” and “O my soul's joy!” When Governor Montano asks Cassio if the Moor is wived he responds with: “Most fortunately: he hath achieved a maid

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