Othello and Identity

1730 Words7 Pages
Identity is a very key, important thematic issue in William Shakespeare's tragic drama, Othello. Identity, or what may be better explained as a character's public perception, is highly valued in the Elizabethan Age in which Othello is set. There is a varying range between the characters in the extent that how they are perceived in public is not how they behave in private or how they really are, thus creating more than one identity per character. A character's identity is the overall essence of that character, however, in plays such as Shakespeare's there must always be an element of tragic flaw to the play thus creating conflict. In Othello, conflict ultimately arises through the plotting and scheming of one central, manipulative…show more content…
It is here that the audience begins seeing a different identity of Othello. Who was once regarded as so valiant and courageous, was now beginning to show signs of severe insecurities dealing with matters, most importantly, such as his lack of experience in love and marriage causing shadows of doubt over his confidence in himself and his ability to be loved by and worthy of someone like Desdemona. Desdemona, although not intentionally, seems to be the reason for all the unrest in Othello. This is an instance in the play when irony shines it's smiling face upon Shakespeare's most tragic characters. Othello feels truly happy with the presence of Desdemona in his life (Act II.1, 181-187):
It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. O! my soul's joy,
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have wakened death
And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas,
Olympus- high, and duck again as low
As hell's from heaven! If it were now tow to die,
‘Twere now to be most happy;
And yet he also feels severe discontent with this same presence and feels that this love and triumph in his life is too good to be true and as all things too good to be true, cannot last, "But I do love thee, and when I love thee not,/ Chaos is come again" (Act III.3,
Get Access