Othello Character Analysis

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According to Smith, a barbarian’s inherent weakness lies in his linguistic capabilities, the very same capabilities Othello uses to win over Desdemona, and to defend himself during his trial in front of the duke. In Smith’s reading, Othello only reverts to his barbarian state when experiencing extreme pressure, as he lacks the other means to express the futility of what is felt, which results in violence. However, when a closer look is taken at what Othello knows about the culture he has tried to hard to assimilate to, it can be seen that Othello’s attempted restoration of his integrity after the news of his wife’s purported affair is littered with the notion of blood drawn in chivalric combat - blood drawn in combat that has been…show more content…
The final actions in the play do not reveal Othello’s identity as truly barbaric, instead Othello’s character manifests the one solution that can alleviate the tension between static and fluid identity. He uses violence and his multi-faceted understanding of the body to unify the all physical, social, and psychological aspects of identity. The true tragedy of Othello is that nothing can be more fragile than his self-constructed identity. His attempted rebirth and assimilation into Venetian society through and ideal of chivalry and heroism, is increasingly vulnerable the more his character achieves. The third act of the play brings with it the demise of his constructed identity, his nobility destroyed by rage and despair. Even after the murder of Desdemona there isn’t real cause for him to mourn the loss of his position as a soldier, because punishment for his actions has yet to be exacted. However, the collapse of the civil identity he has so carefully constructed is inseparable from the loss of the soldier identity he used to bolster it. Before Othello destroys any identity he has left with his suicide in the final act, he refers to himself in the third person: “Where should Othello go?” as if “Othello” is a separate entity from the man who says these words. While T.S Eliot has identified Othello’s final speech as escapism, a more realistic reading can

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