Essay about Othello’s Evil Character

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Othello’s Evil Character William Shakespeare’s Othello gives the audience a full measure or dose of evil, mostly in the person of the sinister Iago, whose evil influence penetrates the lives of the victims around him. In The Riverside Shakespeare Frank Kermode explains the type of evil peculiar to the ancient: Over the ancient figure of the Vice – a familiar shape for abstract evil – Iago wears the garb of a modern devil. Iago’s naturalist ethic, as expounded to Roderigo at the close of Act I, is a wicked man’s version of Montaigne, an instance of the way in which men convert to evil the precepts of a common sense supported by no act of faith. (1200) Even the imagery in the drama has its evil…show more content…
The first of these is the fact that perfectly sane people exist in whom fellow-feeling of any kind is so weak that an almost absolute egoism becomes possible to them, and with it those hard vices – such as ingratitude and cruelty – which to Shakespeare were far the worst. The second is that such evil is compatible, and even appears to ally itself easily, with exceptional powers of will and intellect. (216) H. S. Wilson in his book of literary criticism, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, addresses the character of the general’s ancient: With such a man everything is food for his malice. There is no appeasing him. His ego feeds upon the misfortunes he contrives for others, and what he feeds on only makes him hungrier. He is proof against pity and remorse alike, as his last interview with Desdemona and his sullen defiance of his captors at the end only too painfully show us. In short, he is the demi-devil that Othello finally calls him, half a devil and half a man; yet the littleness in each of his components is formidable, spider-like, and appallingly human besides. (54) In the essay “Wit and Witchcraft: an Approach to Othello” Robert B. Heilman unveils the evil awaiting the reader in Othello: Reason as an ally of evil is a subject to which Shakespeare keeps returning, as if fascinated, but in different thematic forms as he explores different counter-forces. ]. . .] Although Iago, as we saw, does not take

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