Jealousy and Gullibility:
The Devastating Flaws of Othello
By: Ryan Mongon
"The tragic flaw is the most important part of the hero and the events that occur in the work is a reflection of that flaw." Aristotle
The plot of William Shakespeare's Othello is a tale of love, jealousy, and betrayal; however, the characters, themes, and attitudes of the works are different, with Shakespeare's play being a more involved study of human nature and psychology. Othello is considered to be a prime example of Aristotelian drama. It focuses upon a very small cast of characters, one of the smallest used in Shakespeare. Also, it has few distractions from the main plot, and concentrates on just a few themes, like jealousy. In Shakespeare's …show more content…
Dignity, courage, a strong belief in religion, self-control and sound judgment is a few of Othello's other positive attributes portrayed in the play. His confidence in himself and his courage are clearly evident when Othello makes a stand before Brabantio, Roderigo and Iago, when following the drawing of their swords, Othello, as opposed to withdrawing in the face of danger taunts "Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them." (1:2:25:76-77). Shakespeare continues to portray Othello as a well-respected nobleman throughout his play, from beginning to end. Shakespeare also shows a soft side when he displays Othello's love and confidence in his wife Desdemona. Othello entrusts his wife to the care of another gentleman, as he must go off to war in Cyprus. The entrusted man and his wife happen to be his good friend Iago and his wife Emilia. His trustworthiness makes him a greatly respected person. Through nobility, respect, love, and trust, Othello is considered to be an honorable and commendable man. However, Othello's background is unsophisticated, and often affects his attitude. Othello is a person who is innocent and base in nature. He was influenced by the way his life was going on. The people around Othello also knew of his attitude. Iago is very quick to see this. In his first soliloquy, Iago says, "the Moor is of a
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Shakespeare is prominent in his use of recurring themes throughout his works, particularly those of love, death, and betrayal. All these themes are present in Othello. Most dominant, however, are manipulation and jealousy. Jealousy runs the characters’ lives in Othello from the beginning of the play, when Roderigo is jealous of Othello because he wishes to be with Desdemona, and to the end of the play, when Othello is furious with jealousy because he believes Cassio and Desdemona have been engaging in an affair, but manipulation the prominent action that fuels the jealousy within Othello. Some characters’ jealousy is fashioned by other characters. Iago is involved in much of this, creating lies and implementing confusing situations.
Othello has been described as one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays because the play focuses on its themes of good and evil, military, politics, love and marriage, religion, racial prejudice, gender conflict, and sexuality; but the controversy and debate surrounding Othello is “Why is Othello a qualification for a tragedy?”
These instances heighten his nobility as a character. He is in great demand by the duke and senate due to his honorable qualities. This is evidenced by Cassio's comment that the senate "sent about three several quests" to look for Othello (I.ii.46). Othello is a noble man who is well known and respected for his position as a general. He is experienced in battle and shows great courage and demonstrates high levels of dignity. Othello shows immense respect for his fellow man, we see this in his initial relationships with Casio an Iago. Othello's valiant personality is a major part of his success in the military as well as with his marriage, to Desdemona. Because of his exotic qualities, he is able to woo his wife in an art of story telling, reflecting his nobility and honor. Such a storey seduces Desdemona, causing a strong bind to Othello made from a mixture of love and lust. The Venetian government trusts Othello enough to put him in full martial and political command of Cyprus; indeed, in his dying speech, Othello reminds the Venetians of the "service" he has done their state (V.ii.348). However noble or revered by his peers Othello may be, it is his honor, aided by his naivety and insecurity that lead to his destruction.
In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello is the tragic hero. He is a character of high stature who is destroyed by his surroundings, his own actions, and his fate. His destruction is essentially precipitated by his own actions, as well as by the actions of the characters surrounding him. The tragedy of Othello is not a fault of a single villain, but is rather a consequence of a wide range of feelings, judgments and misjudgments, and attempts for personal justification exhibited by the characters. Othello is first shown as a hero of war and a man of great pride and courage. As the play continues, his character begins to deteriorate and become less noble. Chronologically through the play, Othello’s character
At one point or another, we have all heard that “love is blind”; this saying is a warning of how love can overshadow the truth. Shakespeare verifies the accuracy of this idiom in his play Othello, where its main character, Othello, a black general, is oblivious to the crimes plotted against him because they are being made by his good friend Iago. Shakespeare's tale begins with a seething Iago who is scheming to ruin Othello’s life because Othello picked Cassio to be his lieutenant instead of Iago. He deviously plans to make it seem as if Desdemona, Othello’s new wife, has committed adultery. Othello is a passionate person and loves Desdemona wholeheartedly, but his passion, while making him an ardent husband and friend, also means he reacts
The extent of which Othello is a tragic hero has been open to much debate; the basis on which he is judged falls to Aristotle’s established view of the crucial elements that distinguish whether a person is truly tragic. According to Aristotle, a tragic protagonist is a nobleman or person from high status, who contributes to his own demise and illustrates a flaw or weakness in judgment. The tragic protagonist must make a fall from a high state of being to a low state or death. The tragic hero’s downfall, said Aristotle, was brought upon by some error of judgement. Aristotle’s theory is not the final word on tragedy, however it can support in pinpointing the pivotal traits in
Shakespeare has been known to create terrific tales of love and tragedy. Even James Van Der Beek, a well known actor from Dawson's Creek, once commented that, “like all great romantics, Shakespeare realized love was a lot more likely to end with a bunch of dead Danish people than with a kiss”("Americans on the Bard"). This emphasizes how easily people can relate Shakespeare to tragic love. Although he did write many poems and plays with happy endings, his tragedies stand out the most. In these tragedies, people are often led through use of misconception, trickery, or both. An example of misconception can be shown by another of Shakespeare's plays, “Antony and Cleopatra,” as he wrote for Antony's part, “this foul Egyptian hath betrayed
The play “Othello” by William Shakespeare was written in 1604 during the Elizabeth era. Othello is one of the most extraordinary characters in all of Shakespeare’s dramas. He enjoyed unheralded success in the combat zone, which gave him the reputation as one of Venice’s most competent generals. Even though he has great success in the battlefield, he has a dramatic flaw that causes a downfall in his life. The dramatic flaw that causes his downfall is jealousy. This was brought on by a simple persuasion of Iago, the evil character in the play. Even though Iago used extreme manipulation to get Othello to be jealous, Iago did not really have to try very hard to get Othello in a jealous state of mind. Othello was blinded by his jealousy which
Only by considering a range of perspectives can we truly appreciate the world of Shakespeare’s Othello. It is through my exploration of these perspectives and their relationship with changing morals and values that has enriched my understanding of the play. One such reading of the play challenges the marginalisation and objectification of woman in a patriarchal Venetian society, while taking into account the changing role of women in modern society. Another interpretation of Othello examines its post colonial elements through the protagonist Othello, and his insecurities of being a black man in a white society. My interpretation of the play as a portrayal of the values existing in Shakespeare’s time is filtered through these
Othello’s speech to Brabantio and the Duke in Act 1, Scene 3 is of major importance in describing Othello’s personality. This long speech, found in lines 149 to 196, shows Othello for the first time as a person with depth and less as a soldier. This speech is important to the book as a whole because it is a testimony to the strength of the love between Othello and Desdemona, which will later play a major role in the plot. It is also one of the first times that we see Othello trying to influence his audience with his words. The speech given by Othello is intended to convince Brabantio that Desdemona is with him willfully, and not by “spells and medicines bought of montebanks” (line 74).
In Shakespeare?s play Othello, Othello himself is the tragic hero. He is an individual of high stature who is destroyed by his surroundings, his own actions, and his fate. His destruction is essentially precipitated by his own actions, as well as by the actions of the characters surrounding him. The tragedy of Othello is not a fault of a single person, but is rather the consequence of a wide range of feelings, judgments, misjudgments, and attempts for personal justification revealed by the characters.
In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the main character Othello is typically victimized and portrayed as a mere scapegoat of the villainous Iago’s devious plans. However, Othello is not completely void of responsibility for the death of his wife. Othello, the tragic hero, is just as responsible as Iago for his premeditated murder of Desdemona due to his own internal flaws. Specifically, flaws such as his vivid imagination and his self over-idealization are brought to the surface by Iago, which consequently allows Iago to easily manipulate Othello.
William Shakespeare’s Othello and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart are both tragedies yet two extremely different stories. Othello followed the titular character as he was led astray and made to believe that his wife was being dishonest while Things Fall Apart focused on Okonkwo as his tribal life changed because of the arrival of missionaries. However, the two are similar in that they center around tragic heroes. Both are about successful men and the events that unfortunately result in their fall from grace and their untimely death.
"Othello is set in a world and focuses on the passions and personalities of its major figures." (Thomas). Othello is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The work revolves around four central characters: Othello, Othello's wife Desdemona, his lieutenant Cassio and advisor Iago. The play appeared in seven editors between 1622 and 1705. The themes of the story are racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal. Othello is a black soldier who is accused of stealing his wife Desdemona. Although Desdemona's father dislikes his daughter's choice, Desdemona loves Othello very much and the two are married. Othello’s right hand man is angered at the fact that Othello picked a man named Cassio to be more important than him and he also feels that he is messing with his wife. Iago plans to manipulate Othello but his plan eventually causes more hurt to most of the characters. Iago tries to use the meeting between Cassio and Desdemona as a way to make Othello believe she was cheating on him. Iago goes on with his manipulative plan by planting a handkerchief in Cassio's room, and goes and tell Othello about what he has seen Cassio do. Othello becomes jealous throughout the story and begins to believe that Cassio is talking to his wife. Iago persuades Othello to come up with a master plan to kill Cassio and Desdemona. As Othello tries to kill Desdemona, Emilia, Iago's wife, comes in to tell Othello the truth about Iago. Unfortunately it is too late. Othello had already suffocated her. When Othello