The Character of Othello Essay

2144 Words 9 Pages
The Character of Othello

Shakespeare's Othello is not simply a play which embodies the conflict between insider and outsider. The paradigm of otherness presented in this play is more complicated than the conclusion, "Othello is different; therefore, he is bad." Othello's character is to be revered. He is a champion among warriors; an advisor among councilmen; a Moor among Venetians. Yes, Othello is a Moor, but within the initial configuration of the play, this fact is almost irrelevant. His difference is not constructed as “otherness.” Othello, by his nature, is not an “otherized” character. Besides being the dark-skinned Moor, Othello varies in no real way from the other characters in the play. Further, Othello and Iago can
…show more content…
In Shakespeare’s tragedy of Othello, we see Othello move through a character progression as he becomes consumed with Iago’s connivings and fabrications. He is introduced as a tragic hero whose stories of hardships endeared him not only to his new bride but his new father-in-law as well. Even Brabantio who throws many slanderous insinuations of Othello’s use of witchcraft and drugs to seduce Desdemona into his “cunning hell,” (1.3.102) was once charmed and by this simple man who bows to his reputation in the face of a character challenge. “Her father loved me; oft invited me . . ./Still questioned me the story of my life/From year to year, the battle, sieges, fortune/That I have passed.” (I.iii.127-30)

The affliction of Othello’s character is furthered by Iago’s emphasis upon Othello’s simplicity and honesty which is sharply contrasted with Iago’s skillfully-crafted towers of lies and bejeweled misrepresentations. Othello may be a simple man with rude speech and strong arms, but he has been engaged in redeemable pursuits for Venice for the past seven years. Despite the rumblings of animalism and witchcraft that may be connected to his black skin, these are no more than rumors and hearsay. Those in power, like the Duke of Venice, know and attest to Othello's true nature, as he comments, “If virtue no delighted beauty lack,/Your son-in-law is far more fair than black.” (I.iii.284). Othello's character is spotless although his skin is not. Even
Open Document