Othello and Snow Country: Personal Opinion Critical Essay
Love and passion have a lot in common; however, there is a thin line separating the two and this distinction only comes out through the actions taken by the involved parties. There has always been a conflict between love and passion because many people do not love; they are only passionate and as the confusion sets in, people become lost and finally despair for they do not get what they expect.
The raging conflict between love and passion comes out clearly in Shakespeare’s play; Othello and Yasunari Kawabata’s book; Snow Country. While in these two works there are people who are truly in love, others are just passionate even though they assume or pretend to be in love. This paper explores four characters viz. Othello and Desdemona from Othello, Shinamura, and Komako from Snow Country. Why do these people make decisions that they make?
Love vs. Passion
In Othello, Othello is passionate about Desdemona whilst she is in love with him. Shakespeare richly explores the conflict between love and passion. As aforementioned, it is hard to differentiate between love and passion as they all come in the name of love. Othello confesses his love for Desdemona while his actions negate these claims. He says, “…I love the gentle Desdemona” (Shakespeare 29).
This is only lip service and as the old adage goes, actions are stronger than words; Othello’s actions speak loudly against his words. By virtue of its selfish nature, passion tramples over love and the two cannot coexist. Love is long bearing, patient, and understanding among other virtues. On the other hand, passion mimics love for some time and eventually resorts to its self-seeking nature.
After confessing his love for Desdemona, ironically, Othello goes on to kill her. Othello simply married Desdemona to achieve his own good; love seeks for the common good of everyone, not an individual. Othello is passionate with marrying Desdemona because for one; he would brag it to his friends, and satisfy his ego. If only he truly loved Desdemona, he would not even thought of killing her.
To show how far love is from Othello, he uses unfounded hearsays to accuse his wife and takes no time to investigate the matter. He hurriedly concludes that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio simply because Lago thinks so. He justifies his claims by saying, “She turned to folly, and she was a whore” (Shakespeare 480). Love is not jealous and it does not accuse the loved especially in absence of substantial evidence.
Moreover, even if the loved is surely in the wrong, love brings forgiveness through mutual understanding; it does not bear finger pointing and death. Due to lack of love, inflamed with passion, Othello kills Desdemona. On the other side, Desdemona loves Othello and this is why she marries him and sticks with him even after her father tries to terminate the marriage by contesting it before the Dukes.
The conflict between love and passion continues to be manifested in Kawabata’s book, Snow Country. As Shinamura gets to know Komako well, it is evident that he cannot love. He is only passionate, passionate about his personal desires. As the story opens up, the reader learns that Shinamura is a “bored individual who lives a life of idleness” (Kawabata 8).
Actually, the reason why he comes to Snow Country is to kill this boredom and rediscover his ‘self.’ Therefore, it follows that he only accepts Komako as a ‘tool’ of satisfaction, not as a loving partner.
At one point, he forgets that Komako is a girl and in one moment, he calls her ‘a good girl’ and immediately tells her, “You are a good woman” (Kawabata 21). This is disturbing; Shinamura is only interested in the ‘woman’ in Komako, not anything else, not even a loving relationship. He is only passionate about her to achieve his goal of rediscovering his ‘self’ and killing boredom.
This is the reason why when Komako demands to know the meaning of such contrasting titles, he cannot offer a valid answer. Instead, the author notes that, “He had not dreamed that she was a woman who would find it necessary to take offense at such a trivial remark, and that very fact lent her an irresistible sadness” (Kawabata 27).
Of course, passion unlike love is not considerate; consequently, Shinamura could never imagine that his insensitive remarks would hurt anyone. On the other hand, Komako is in love with Shinamura and this is why, “she never let him out of sight at the resort…stumbled into his room all the time drunk and mumbling non stop…“ (Kawabata 46 & 49). It is only true love that could labor this much, not passion.
Love and passion are mutually exclusive; they cannot coexist. In presence of love, passion fades away. On the other side, passion negates any understanding of what true love is. Love runs deep into the soul and berths in the depths of heart; however, passion is superficial and self-seeking, resting on the surface of the heart to satisfy its desires, which in most cases are selfish.
Othello does not love Desdemona; if only he loved her, he would never thought of killing her. Nevertheless, because his ‘love’ for her is based on passion, he smothers her to death; this is jealousy and selfishness. His decisions are based on jealousy and indecision, made in haste, because he lacks love. Love is long bearing and does not accuse falsely; on the contrary, passion does this and does it with zeal and precision.
Shinamura is another passionate culprit who does not understand what true love is. This may explain why he is bored and ‘lost.’ he is so insensitive to Komako that she wonders what she is not doing right. He does not care and after realizing that Komako is not a professional geisha, he falls for Yuko despite the fact that he tells Komako she is a ‘good’ woman. No one can have both love and passion simultaneously. Where love is, passion melts away and where passion is, true love shy away.
Kawabata, Yasunari. “Snow Country.” New York; Vintage Publishers, 1996.
Shakespeare, William. “Othello.” Furness, Horace. (Ed.). Philadelphia; J.B. Lippincott Company, 2005.
Othello and Oedipus Rex Characters’ Traits Essay
At the time of contrasting and comparing the traits of Shakespeare’s Othello and Sophocles’ Oedipus, it is vital to recognize that it has to be through the means of varied theatrical activities. It has to be noted that many productions and interpretations have been issued concerning there plays as they look similar.
Even if two different writers wrote them, both Oedipus and Othello are great people; they end up meeting their downfall. They also have tragic traits as they eventually kill someone they love. This essay compares and contrasts Othello and Oedipus Rex characters(Shakespeare 16).
The two actors, Othello and Oedipus, are presented with prominent character traits. Othello, in his rein, was highly respected general, whose service record could be regarded as impeccable in the Venetian troop. On the other hand, Oedipus was just a new appointed king in his community of Thebes, guided by Tiresias within the plot.
The two leaders in the two poems were all valued and honored by their subjects in their different territories, as is clear from the settings. The two characters had to overcome several obstacles in a manner that led many of their followers to respect and honor them, and their royal positions (Shakespeare 24 & 167)
Othello can be considered to be a black member of his society. Nevertheless, at the time of the Caucasian race, he was looked upon by society as very much superior as compared to other races. Though he was much respected and honored as a general, his people still at other times, he was down looked upon just as a human being (Smith 34). The illustration of such regard and expression can be seen in the opposition of Desdemona’s father.
When performing comparison of Othello and Oedipus, one should note on the similarity in their downfalls. In the process of fulfilling the definition of a term tragedy, the main actors have to lead their downfall. The same thing happens to the two actors; Rex Oedipus and Othello. Each one of them has some difficulties in telling what has been the truth in their leadership.
Looking at Othello, he can be considered as a person who can be easily cheated. His main mistake was trusting evil individuals and losing trust in his wife. He was just easily tricked by the masterminds of Lago, who had the minds of destroying him. They said, “They are loves I bear to you” (Dana 234), and he ended believing them. While when he was just about to kill his wife, he did not believe her when she said that “My lord, you know I love you” ( Dana 234).
After the realization of Othello that he as a king has some troubles in looking at the reality, he was misguided into believing that his own and real spouse has been engaging in extramarital affairs with one of his own trusted lieutenant named Cassio. Othello ended up killing Desdemona, and after getting to know the scheme of Lago, he ended up taking his own life, hence resulting in his downfall.
On the side of Oedipus, his past actions came back haunting him whenever he was. They led to his downfall. This fact proves that Othello is blind in his senses. This is because not only ones that Lago had deceived him, and he never opened his eyes to see what was happening. This shows that “He is not observant” (Bradley 23).
As is clear from Oedipus and Othello comparative essay, in contrast to what was happening to Othello’s present deeds, that led to his dismissal. “The protagonist of the tragedy is the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes” (Brunner 176). Earlier before making a step of defeating the Sphinx, on his way, he met and killed a small group of individuals, forgetting that his predecessor, his father, King Laius was also in the group.
At the time he was summoned by the gods to find and ensure that the murderer is discovered and expelled, he gets to know through his own investigation that he was the victim who slew his own father and that one of his wives is his mother, as he married his mother by the name, Jocasta. “In his investigation although, he was faced with many difficulties in seeing the reality that the prophets provided” (Smith 75). This investigation might have led him to take his own life later.
The two of them had the same character as being prideful before the time came for their downfall. Both of them used to be men who had accomplished many extraordinary things. On top of that, they all had excellent leadership qualities empowered unto them by the Almighty if it can be concluded.
Firstly, analyzing Othello’s character, he can be considered as one who had upstanding citizenship qualities and was very much famous due to his military successes (Shakespeare 39). Somehow, he can be regarded as holding mystical traits. This can hold more water by looking at the fact that he just came from a foreign land that taught him adventure experience that thunderstruck the Venetian community. ( Shakespeare, 47-48).
Considering Oedipus Rex character,, we can conclude that he was also, to an extent, a renaissance person. Just like Othello, he was known because of his successes in the army; on the other hand, his genuine pride came from his position as a king of Thebes was happen to be wise and confident in his undertakings. Oedipus stated that “I Oedipus whom all men call the great.” (Sophocles line 7).
Every pride of an individual can be looked upon as a catalyst, of an early stage of a downfall, which might happen in different ways. We can see that, being a pride individual, he killed his wife on the reason that she was not loyal to him at all. In the same connection, the pride, one of the traits of Oedipus, did not let the killers of Laius go undiscovered. All these led to their downfall.
Bradley A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy. London: MacMillan and Co., 1919. Shakespeare Online. 2009.
Shakespeare, William. Othello, the Moor of Venice. Ed. David Bevington. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 912. Print.
Smith, Shawn. Love, Pity, and Deception In Othello. Papers on Language & Literature 44.1 (2008): 3-51, 49. Master FILE Premier. EBSCOhost. Tarrant County College Library Database, Texas.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. X.J. Kennedy, and Dana Gioia . 6th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 860. Print.
Dana, Gioia. Literature An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry Drama and Writing 6th Ed. New York: X.Y Kennedy.
Brunner, M. King Oedipus Retried. London: Rosenberger & Krausz, 2000.
Theme of Jealousy in Othello by Shakespeare Research Paper
The play Othello is among the most famous tragic plays written by Shakespeare. The story concentrates on four main characters namely Othello, Desdemona, Cassio and Lago. Due to its varied nature and the fact that it addresses important themes such as betrayal, love, death and jealousy, it is still performed in many theatres today.
It stands out as a unique play with a personal setting describing the aspirations and private lives of the main characters. The jealousy displayed by Othello and the villainous nature of Lago are some of the qualities that impress the readers of the play.
In addition, the relationship among the characters makes the play unique (Sparknotes 1).Othello and Lago show close associations which make it difficult to figure out who has the greatest responsibility in the play. Most importantly, the role played by Lago who is the villain distinguishes the play from others. Shakespeare addresses different themes in the play and this essay will discuss jealousy as one of the themes addressed in Othello by Shakespeare.
The Theme of Jealousy in Othello
Shakespeare was one of the most prominent writers who ever lived. He was known for addressing various themes such as betrayal, death and love in his works as evidenced in his play Othello. However, theme of jealousy stands out from the start till the end of the play. As the play begins, Roderigo is presented as he tries to be close to Desdemona.
The theme runs throughout the play until the end, leaving Othello very angry and envious because he believes that Cassio and Desdemona have been entangled in an affair. The jealousy of some characters in the play is influenced by other characters. Lago is the greatest victim of this and creates lies and presents situations aimed at misleading the other characters. He exhibits jealousy towards Cassio and Othello because he was not appointed as a lieutenant.
Lago can be described as a jealous character since he wishes every other person could share in his feelings so he goes ahead to plant the seed of jealousy in other characters. He is driven by anger and envy and aims at instilling jealousy in all the other characters, an aim he achieves through manipulating and betraying them, particularly Othello.
The play begins with Roderigo’s desperate love for Desmodena after which he decides to pay Lago to take her from Othello. This is an important scene in the play since it depicts Lago as a villainous character.
The deeds of Lago and his words portray him as a manipulative character. He designs a plan to ruin Othello by calling him a thief since he has stolen the heart of Desmodena through witchcraft. He goes on to implore Roderigo to confront Desmodena’s father by telling him, ‘call up her father, rouse him…poison his delights…do, with like timorous accent and dire yell’ (Shakespeare 64).
In actual sense, Lago is not concerned about the heart of Roderigo. This implies that Roderigo’s love for Desdemona and the fact that he wants to be with her means nothing to Lago. His intentions are not geared towards helping Roderigo look for Desdemona but encourage Brabantio to pursue Othello because this would disturb him.
Lago perfects the art of speaking things that people would want to hear hence misleading them and making them react according to his plans. He is so witty in his diction to keep off any possible argument and confrontation.
He treats Othello in a manipulative manner when he convinces Roderigo to confront Desdemona’s father regarding the conduct of the daughter. Brabantio finds it difficult to believe the accusations leveled against her daughter by the two and dismisses them as absurd. He is angered by the two after they disturb him at night when he is asleep.
After this incident, Roderigo tries to justify his accusations but his actions only serve to further anger Brabantio. He refers to Roderigo as a villain while Roderigo calls him a senator. Brabantio is baffled by the remark made by Roderigo and sits back to reexamine the situation once more. After carefully re-examining the situation, his anger subsides and starts considering the stories told by the two especially when he discovers that Desdemona is not in her bed chamber (Sparknotes 3).
Lago chooses his words judiciously and expresses his views carefully. He knows what to say and the most appropriate time to say it in order to convince his listeners. He practices this especially when talking to Roderigo and Othello. He begins his talks with imperatives then follows them with self answered questions and concludes by making daring assertions.
The timing nature of Lago is evident when he speaks to Roderigo about the suspicions of Desdemona being in love with Othello. Lago brings out Othello as a deceitful person whose lies are believed by Desdemona. He then uses these lies to manipulate Roderigo by telling him that he is capable of distinguishing the relationship between Othello and Desdemona. However, what drives Lago to manipulate Othello is the jealousy he harbors towards him.
The actions of Lago and Othello are based on what they say and do. Both have hidden intentions of dominating over each other. Othello is seeking answers while Lago intends to manipulate those he considers to have hurt him. As a result, Lago manipulates the conversations to cause Othello create conclusions that suit him.
By using this strategy, Lago waits for Othello’s answer for him to craft a response that will increase his jealousy. For example, when Desdemona is seen with Cassio in a private place, Othello asks Lago about it. Lago answers Othello by telling him that he believes it was Cassio. Clearly, Lago evades the question asked by Othello but instead frames his own answer hence manipulating Othello to answer his own question (Shakespeare 65).
Lago employs suspicion, forestalled criticism, hints and twists reality. He frames the relationship between Cassio and Desdemona for the sake of convenience. He is so determined to ensure that Othello develops unending jealousy for Desdemona by insinuating that Desmodena is unfaithful.
The chance presents itself when Cassio and Desmodena are spotted together. Lago slyly comments about the behavior of the two, a comment that elicits serious thoughts in Othello and wonders what their intentions were. When Othello tries to get more information from Lago, he declines to give any information and this makes Othello more suspicious.
As a result, his jealousy towards Desdemona continues to grow. Lago uses implied communications to make sure that he achieves his goals. He manages to change the perceptions that Othello has towards Cassio and leaves him asking for more information. Othello tries to understand whether the accusations of unfaithfulness made by Lago against Desmodena are right.
Lago tells Othello that he should not continue thinking about the adulteries committed but instead Othello thinks about them deeply. He is persuaded by Lago and he develops jealousy towards Desmodena but never questions the two about the affair. Othello adheres to what he is told by Lago and relies on available predetermined evidence. For instance, when a handkerchief that belongs to Desdemona is found on the bed chamber of Cassio, he is convinced that Desdemona is unfaithful.
Othello’s jealousy towards Desdemona continues to increase and to him the only person who can be trusted is Lago because he seems concerned about his life. Lago is engaged in many secret strategies and manipulates him to move in the direction he wants by pretending to be an innocent person. This is a scheme that portrays Lago as a person who sympathizes with Othello but the case is different.
The deceitful nature of Lago is exhibited when he tells Othello that Desdemona lied to his father about marrying Othello. When Lago points out the past deeds of Desdemona, Othello continues developing jealousy towards her because she lied to her father regarding the marriage (Sparknotes 5).
Desdemona is represented as a mere pawn to Lago. In the first episodes of the play, Lago is not so much interested in her. He only mentions her when talking to Othello about her unfaithfulness.
Later in the development of the play, Lago feels threatened after Desdemona asks about his perception of women and how he depicts them. This compels Lago to express love that is not genuine simply because he has been forced to do so. However, this makes him angered and expresses his jealousy towards Desdemona till the end of the play.
The motivation of the evil acts that are perpetrated by Lago in the play is not brought out clearly in the play. He is angered and harbors intense jealousy towards other characters just because Cassio was appointed a lieutenant despite the fact that Lago was more experienced.
He too becomes jealous of Othello although his manipulative character is not justified by this jealousy towards Othello. The truth of the matter is that Lago is very jealous and strives towards developing the jealousy he has in other characters. He believes that he is the person undergoing a lot of suffering and wants other characters to develop anger and jealousy.
Lago comes out as one of the villainous characters in the works of William Shakespeare. What brings out this character is the fact that he secretly creates the trouble happening in the play but he pretends to be innocent and blameless such that nobody suspects him. He achieves this by applying manipulative strategies that end up betraying other characters.
He always tells lies that cause serious consequences but he expresses sympathy and is ever ready to share his secrets with somebody. It is not clear why Lago acts the way he acts and this makes him even more frightening. He is full of jealousy and wants every other person to feel as jealous as he is. The jealousy of Lago and his efforts to develop the same jealousy in others eventually leads into the deaths of many people and his own downfall.
Shakespeare, William. Othello. New York: Plain Label Books, 1968. Print
Sparknotes. Themes, Motifs & Symbols. 2011. Web.
The issue of racial prejudice Research Paper
The play of Othello has been one closely bound up with the question of race and racism. It is the underlying issue of racial prejudice in Venetian society that influences Iago’s plot against Othello, a prejudice both Othello and Desdemona are much aware of its existence. Desdemona denies prejudice in her own life. Her focus is only her love, of which she is loyal in preserving. However, Othello is not aware of how deep the issue of Elizabethan prejudice has conquered his own personality.
Prejudice makes Othello undermine himself by saying “I am not attractive”. “I am not worthy of Desdemona”. “It cannot be true that she really loves me,” and “If she loves me, then there must be something wrong with her” (Shakespeare 72). Such thoughts prevent Othello from discussing the matter with Desdemona, so he acts with the panicked assumptions under the influence of Iago’s lies and hints.
Surviving the Elizabethan’s prejudice requires Othello to be near perfect in strength and knowledge. For instance, Iago explicitly refers to Othello with a vulgar prejudice by asserting that “These Moors are changeable in their wills…” (Shakespeare 30). We cannot ignore this assertion Iago makes about Othello. This vulgar prejudice against Othello is what readers can sustain as the truth about racial prejudice during Elizabethan period (Graham 23).
Other critics consider Othello as one of the finest achievements of Shakespeare, but also as one of the most scandalous plays causing discomfort to both readers and viewers. Some critics argue that Shakespeare made a mistake by making a “Moor” his central character because only white characters could be tragic heroes.
Others argue that Shakespeare was only expressing the values of Elizabethans regarding race issue, which he thought was an offensive portrayal of black people during his times. At the same time, other critics believe that Shakespeare was deliberately exposing the issue of racial prejudice of his fellow countrymen by representing a black tragic hero.
Shakespeare’s characters are among the racist in Elizabethan period. They frequently use the word “black” to refer to Othello. For instance, Iago compares Othello to “an old black ram” (Shakespeare 5). This portrays the perceptions of Elizabethans toward black race. Elizabethans see black people as animals that do not possess human civility, but animalistic instincts. Brabanzio prejudices against black race due to their skin color.
Consequently, he is unable to trust his own daughter’s association with Othello because it goes against his opinion concerning foreign race. Brabanzio reasserts his prejudice judgment by using the word “fear” to reflect his idea about blacks i.e. blacks are savage and uncivilized persons. Brabanzio goes further to substitute Othello’s dignity by referring to him as a “thing”.
At the same time, Desdemona must justify why she must marry a “Moor”. The white society does not accept racial marriages. When Desdemona asserts that she saw Othello in her mind, it means that she must rationalize and validate her love to Othello in her mind and not her heart.
Iago tells Othello that Desdemona as his wife is so unnatural to the point that she refused “many proposed matches …… Of her own clime, complexion, and degree” (Shakespeare 70).
ago uses these descriptions on Othello to invoke a sense of fear, evil, savageness and racial inferiority of the blacks. The culture of the whites portrays black race as degenerated and uncivilized. Othello must act within the limits of a racist society to deal with the alleged infidelity of Desdemona (Adelman 45).
The Elizabethan definitions and identity of the “Moor” varied. They used the term to refer to blacks or someone outside their race. Therefore, any other race outside the white’s society was insignificant. Iago vulgarly refers to Othello as a “Barbary horse”. Elizabethans used the term “black” in reference to “Moor”, black or any other person with Arabic origins. Iago refers to Othello with derogative terms because of his skin pigmentation and his growing love and desire for a white woman.
We can conclude that racial prejudice rotates around racial sexual union of Othello and Desdemona. Characters consider Othello as honorable and admirable person. However, Iago mixes sexual and race issues so as to find ways of attacking Othello from all sides. Therefore, Elizabethans use black’s physical features to define Othello’s identity.
Importance of race in the play
Racial prejudice marks the watershed in this play. The significance of Othello’s race and pigmentation work hard to expose racial prejudice in the Elizabethan era. This forces the audience not to see Othello as a stereotyped Moor, but as a tragic hero. The tragic event perpetuated by Iago transform Othello into what Iago wants him to be. This makes the play creates some discomfort among white audience.
Shakespeare links race, prejudice and sex issues in order to create a web of tragedies. The play exposes the whites’ fear of miscegenation and mingling of races through Othello. Shakespeare is using the Moor to challenge the ideologies of race, sex and miscegenation in the Elizabethan period. The play stirs the audience sympathy through representation of the love of a white woman for a black man (Hadfield 30).
This was a taboo during the Elizabethan era with the fear of mixed-race offspring. A suitable scenario comes out through Roderigo when he tells Desdemona’s father that, “you’ll have your daughter covered with a Barbary horse, you’ll have your nephews neigh to you” (Shakespeare 29).
Cultural treatment of foreigners
The descriptions other characters use in reference to Othello lead the audience to believe that Elizabethan people treated foreigners with a difference. Other characters use a number of culturally stereotyped names to refer to Othello. For instance, Emilia refers to Othello as the “Moor” by saying “The Moor’s abus’d by some outrageous knave…… And made you to suspect me with the Moor” (Shakespeare 30).
Such references make the readers conceive the story as one filled with stereotyped treatment of the Negros during Shakespeare’s period. The racist descriptions permeate the play throughout as evident in Roderigo and Iago.
However, as Shakespeare develops his character, Othello, we realize that some characters around him treat him as an equal. Othello has a rich history of ancestry. We must see Othello as a Negro, but as a high and courteous Moorish chief. In other words, Shakespeare counteracts the Moorish references by developing the traits of Othello so that readers may forget his skin color.
Later, Shakespeare presents Othello as a civilized, master of language, respected and above all, capable of passion beyond race. As the play closes, we realize that it is not all about race, but a story of a tragic character who commits a tragic act of murder.
It is critical to note that the play starts in darkness. Strangely, the characters do not use Othello’s name in reference to him. Readers can only guess who could be “the black ram” through the terms other characters use in reference to Othello. The reference to the terms Moor, thick lips and a Barbary horse equate Othello to an animal. Roderigo sees the union between Othello and Desdemona as an act which will only results into a creation of a “beast with two backs” (Shakespeare, 29).
We know that horses have wide lips, and by saying that the grandson will be a half-horse because of the “animal blood” in Othello is an extreme act of sex and racial prejudice cultural treatment of foreigners. Readers only have hints of Othello through references to animals Roderigo and Iago make. We can draw a conclusion between the Moor and animals. Roderigo and Iago make references to animals. They demonstrate that the Moors lack civility, and are half-human creatures that can only fit the definition of animals.
Brabanzio experiences confusion at his daughter’s affair with the foreigner, the Moor. Thoughts and fear carry Brabanzio away to conclude that Othello is using the black magic and witches to lure Desdemona. It is equally fascinating to note that Brabanzio makes such remarks before even knowing the identity of Othello.
He only relies on the descriptions Iago and Roderigo give Othello. The Elizabethans associated the dark and savage to black people’s magic. Since Othello is a “Moor”, Brabanzio laments, and wonders how Desdemona could have fallen in love with him “against all rules of nature” (Shakespeare 31).
Brabanzio takes it to the extreme by wondering how his daughter could have fallen “in love with that she feared to look” (Shakespeare 31). This reference gives readers ideas how Shakespeare’s contemporaries treated foreigners. In other words, sexual union between blacks and whites was against the law of nature during the Elizabethan period (Sanders 66).
Brabanzio uses some of the strongest remarks to define foreigners. Elizabethan considers different races that access the white’s society as pagans and bondslaves. For instance, Brabanzio asserts that “For if such actions may have passage free, bondslaves and pagans shall our statesmen be” (Shakespeare 32).
Readers conclude that the Elizabethan did not recognize the existence of black men as true men. The whites regarded the Moors as bondslaves and pagans with no place in their white society. However, as Shakespeare continues to develop his tragic hero, Brabanzio changes his notion about Othello. Shakespeare presents the Moor as a refined character who speaks, acts and dresses as whites do. He also portrays the outstanding leadership qualities of Othello.
Audiences begin to understand that Othello is no different from other white characters, except for the color of his skin. A part from Iago, Roderigo and other evil characters who characteristically refer to Othello as the Moor, the rest of the characters treats him with respect and call him the valiant Moor. This reference makes Othello’s race a significant part of him: a part which is rich in history and quite glorified.
The cultural context of Othello
When the play opens, it is hard for readers to imagine that the play will revolve around the issue of race. However, the cultural context of the tragic hero, Othello reveals that he does not compare to any racist terms other characters use to describe him.
In order to erase the issue of race in a cultural context of his hero, Shakespeare cleverly develops his character to counteract the savagery and uncivilized terms racist characters use in reference to Othello. It is obvious that Othello does not fit any of the descriptions his enemies impose on him.
For instance, when Othello advices his battalion to watch their swords reveals a deep personality of cultivated and intelligent man. Othello says “Keep your bright swords, for the dew will rust them. Good signor you have more command with your years than with your weapons” (Shakespeare12). These lines draw the readers’ attention to the civility and gentleness of Othello. Readers wonder whether to judge Othello from the stereotyped and prejudiced point of view of Iago and Roderigo or use Othello’s words to judge him.
Othello must prove himself as a truly civilized Moor before the white society. Some readers easily follow the assumptions Iago and Rederigo claim about Othello. Readers cannot judge Othello from the words of characters with ulterior motives. Iago and Roderigo lack credibility to provide substantial information regarding Othello. This makes his opinion insignificant to the reader since they are cruel and baseless.
Shakespeare presents a tragic hero who is humble. Othello recognizes that he is different from other characters in terms of skin color and speech. Othello says that “Rude am I in speech… And little blessed with the soft phrase of speech” (Shakespeare 13). This humble act of humility defines Othello’s character throughout the play. Othello recognizes that he is racially different from whites, but not racially mediocre character to them. Shakespeare asserts the fact that the “other race” can rise above whites and be their hero.
The cultural context of Othello is one full of fascinating history. Othello woos a lover and friends alike with his rich cultural background and stories of heroism. They want to hear more and more of his fascinating tales. This creates a sense of admiration in Othello among some of his white admirers.
It is this rich and exotic history of heroism which is lacking in whites’ society. The fascinating history makes the Duke to admit that his daughter would have fallen for such a story. Othello is using his cultural background to his advantage and never admits that his race is inferior to any.
Throughout the play, comments of animal and savagery follow Othello. When Othello murders Desdemona, he uses the term base India to refer to himself. This barbarous act of brutality leaves the readers wondering whether Othello is a true civilized person or is an animal. This is the only instance where Othello puts is cultural orientation into a negative focus.
The fundamental issue for readers to ponder is whether Othello is a beast or a civilized person. Readers wonder whether Iago and Roderigo have been right all along about the civility of Othello. Like most of Shakespeare’s tragic characters, we realize that Othello is man, regardless of race, trapped in a web of deceit and evil plots.
Whether White or black, anybody is capable of murder, in a brutal manner, of course. Therefore, the issue of race inferiority is secondary to this play. Shakespeare demonstrates that racial prejudice has some of the most negative consequences, especially if people harbor ulterior motive against others.
Adelman, Janet. Iago’s alter ego: race as projection in Othello. New York: Routledge, 1997. Print.
Graham, Bradshaw. Misrepresentations: Shakespeare and the Materialis. New York: Cornell University Press, 1993. Print.
Hadfield, Andrew. A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on William Shakespeare’s Othello. New york: Routledge, 2003. Print.
Sanders, Norman. Othello: The New Cambridge Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare’s Othello: Cliff Notes. Chicago: IDG Books Worldwide, 2000. Print.
Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Othello: The Words and Actions of Iago Essay
The works, created by William Shakespeare, always amaze the reader and open a new world, full of dreams, devotion, love, and betrayal to them. Each character, introduced in Shakespeare’s plays, is unique indeed: one character may be rich, another can be poor; one of the characters is smart, another is full; some of them are quite happy for a certain period of time, and some of them cannot find their love and happiness during all their fictional lives.
To my mind, one of the most complex, captivating, and, at the same time, the most evil characters in Shakespeare’s plays is Iago from The Tragedy of Othello. Nowadays, the screenwriters try to present the best villains ever, however only few fictional characters may be compared to Iago.
One of such fictional characters, who may be compared to Iago, is the Joker from The Dark Knight. Each action and each word by Iago or Joker has its own sense and reason. In order to achieve the desirable purpose, they try to weight every detail and control the lives and actions of people around.
Shakespeare made his character an absolutely amoral person, who can steal, lie, or even kill to achieve the goal. Iago’s amorality, his desire to have more power, and his tricks have much in common with the Joker’s actions and turn out to be the best examples of pure evil people from fictions.
Shakespeare’s Othello is one of the most powerful pieces of writing, where the author concentrates more on people, their desires, and qualities than on the historical facts and political affairs; characters’ sexual anxiety is far from any political aspiration (Corns, 53).
Without any doubts, the character of Iago is one of the most crucial one in the Shakespeare’s play. When someone wants to know how evil looks like, it is better to think about Iago, remember his “honest” actions, and get a clear understanding that evil may be somewhere near. “I follow him to serve my turn upon him.” (Shakespeare, 1, 1, 42). These Iago’s words take place almost at the beginning of the play during the conversation between Iago and Roderigo about Othello, the Moorish general.
In spite of the fact that Iago is one of the soldiers under Othello’s command, Iago has rather evil intentions and the desire to take up Othello’s position and does not afraid to share them with another person. From these words, it becomes clear that Iago is upset with unfair promotion; he cannot agree to the idea that now, he is under command of a person, he does not respect at all. Now, he wants to revenge, he wants to be promoted, and he is going to find some people to assist him.
Iago’s actions are smart enough: first, he should be sure that the person, he shares his goals, feels the same antipathy to Othello; second, he does not share all his secrets, just those, he finds not too much harmful; and, finally, he chooses only those people, he is able to control and even blackmail.
It is necessary to admit that Iago’s amorality and evil do not prevent the reader to be amazed with Iago’s intelligence and abilities to control situation. For example, Iago is aware of Roderigo’s feelings to Desdemona and is sure that Roderigo will do anything to win this lady. This is why Iago finds it rather helpful to use Roderigo’s money and jewels for own goals – “thus do I ever make my fool my purse” (Shakespeare, 1, 3, 383).
Of course, such actions cannot be regarded as good ones, but still, Iago demonstrates the best qualities of a really good businessman. The end of the play is rather tragic, and all actions by Iago were exposed. The reader does not have an opportunity to find out what the Iago’s end is, but still, his end is almost obvious – evil actions should be punished properly. To my mind, such concepts like briberies and corruptions, which are so popular nowadays, are grounded a bit from this very work by Shakespeare.
Of course, Shakespeare is not the only one, who is able to create really evil characters. Lots of writers present a huge number of antagonists, who prevent the success of the main characters, who add a bit of intrigue, and who try to achieve own goals by means of lies, murders, blackmails, etc.
Unfortunately, not each evil character may be compared and be equal to the one, created by Shakespeare. But still, even our modern cinema and literature can amaze readers and viewers. One of such antagonists, who are famous by his bad actions and intentions, is the Joker from The Dark Knight.
This character is interesting from many perspectives and causes numerous contradictions at the same time: first, he is too evil and always eager to break some rules and harm society as well as Iago, however, his attitude to some situations makes the viewer smile; secondly, his hate towards Batman makes him the main antagonist, however, some of his actions are rather smart and cause certain respect.
His horrific appearance and constant laughter do not cause positive emotions, but still, some of his words and actions should be taken into consideration as they have certain sense and even can teach something.
So, the peculiar feature that is inherent to both the Joker from The Dark Knight and Iago from Othello is their desire to break the rules, make someone’s life unbearable, and get unbelievable pleasure from doing all those bad things.
Someone may think that it is not reasonable to compare these two antagonists, as they existed during different periods of time, and they goals had rather different nature. However, to my mind, their unreasonable actions are worthy of attention. First of all, these two characters have one concrete enemy and tried to use other people to take revenge and kill their opponents.
For Iago, it was Othello, for the Joker, it was Batman. The Joker decides to use the mob, who hates Batman as well, in order to intimidate society, attract Batman’s attention, and have enough power and money to resist everybody’s favorite. Iago uses Roderigo, who also wants to take revenge upon Othello for Desdemona, Roderigo’s money, and Roderigo’s support.
However, the Joker and Iago never use money, they got from their accomplices; this is why these characters are similar to their desire to manipulate people just in order to manipulate. The Joker admits one time: “It’s not about money… it’s about sending a message. Everything burns!” (The Dark Knight) The same idea is characterized Iago’s intentions and actions.
Another point that unites the Joker and Iago in their words and actions is their abilities to lie, not think about the consequence, and not consider their consciousness.
At the beginning, Iago tells that he hates Othello because the latter did not promote him but promoted Cassio; however, with some time, he admits that Othello slept with Emilia, Iago’s wife, and this is the major reason why Iago wants to revenge. Almost the same picture is observed in the Joker’s actions: first, he admits that it was his father, who “put a smile on that face” (The Dark Knight); later, he presents absolutely another story that it is his wife, “who tells me I ought to smile more” (The Dark Knight).
The reader of Othello and the viewer of The Dark Knight can easily concede that any of their words are false. As we can observe, the actions of these two characters do not have any reason, they do not care about the rules, their society live in; these people are so evil that they have satisfaction only in case someone is suffering, however, it is even hard to imagine if these people can be aware of what satisfaction really means.
In general, the analysis of words and actions by Iago and its comparison to the Joker’s actions lead to unpredictable results. These two evil characters were created in different epochs, cultures, and conditions, however, at the same time, their dreams, goals, words, and actions are so similar to each other.
It is impossible to support any of these characters, but still, it is possible to learn something from their actions, analyze their mistakes, and comprehend that evil may exist in different forms. Very often, it is very hard to find out where the true evil can be, but such great works like Othello or The Dark Knight provide us with a chance to evaluate possible examples and be careful with such “Iagos” or “the Jokers” in real life.
Corns, Thomas, N. “A History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature.” Blackwell Histories of Literature. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello, Moore of Venice. Teddington: Echo Library, 2007.
The Dark Knight. Dir. Nolan, Christopher. Perf. Bale, Christian, Ledger, Heath, and Caine, Michael. Legendary Pictures, Syncopy Films, DC Comics.
Othello as the Outsider Essay
The play Othello by Shakespeare is a tragedy of human relationships where the protagonist is unable to adjust to the rules and principles of Venetian society. His alienation from actions and concerns affects his much because his physical appearance along with his character traits is in dissonance with the context of the play.
Hence, due to his otherness, Othello is unable to enter the rational society. His consciousness is overwhelmed with jealousy and fury. The hero is also an outsider in expressing his thoughts and manners; he is unable to accommodate the moral and ethical norms of human behavior and, therefore, such an opposition dooms Othello to be a permanent outsider, which also makes him a tragic figure. In addition, Othello’s alienation is also revealed through linguistic and contextual techniques.
Othello as an Outcast of the Venetian Society
The first feature that differs and alienates Othello from the Venetian society is his race (Vaughan 33). Being a Moore who came from Egypt, people are reluctant to accept him. Despite his enormous attempts to gain respect, his military and respectful position in the army still keeps him far away from being recognized and accepted.
His race and origin pursues his throughout the play which makes more hostile and outrageous which is reflected in all his actions and deeds. Even after marriage with Desdemona, the senator’s daughter, Othello is still perceived as something unusual and even mysterious due to the color of his skin; his affection for Desdemona is also realized in unusual way: “That with some mixtures pow’ful o’er the blood / Or with some dram, conjured to this effect/ He wrought upon her” (Shakespeare 382).
Even those who consider him as a peer, particularly Desdemona and Brabanzio, are still attracted and bewildered by his exotic features. There are cases when Othello himself realizes that he is an outcast of society and recognizes his exotic appearance distinguishing him from other Venetians.
Othello is conscious of his blackness and distinctions from other members of society. He takes advantages of his racial distinctions to justify his actions and explain the reasons of his moral and social inferiority.
Bloom states, “[h]is blackness is the cause of Brabantio’s opposition to his marriage, it affects the consciousness of everyone around him, and it has just been pressed upon him by Iago’s insinuations of Desdemona’s unnaturalness” (55). In the play, Othello strives to emphasize that his blackness is insignificant impediment and highlight the advantages of his origin revealing the positive features of his character and behavior.
However, by justifying his origin, Othello subconsciously acknowledges that his an outcast of this society and there is a considerable gap between his wild and irrational world and between superior and aristocratic Venetian society: “Haply, for I am black,/ And have not those soft parts of conversation,/ that chamberers have, or for I am declin’d into the vale of years (yet that’s not much), She’s gone” (Shakespeare 438)
At the same time, by trivializing his racial affiliation, the hero accentuates the irrationalism of his judgments and rejects to acknowledge the actual reason for his alienation. Such position leaves Othello with two options only: he can either recognize his blackness in the face of his counters or internalize this feature which makes him resort to self-loathing.
Othello as an Outsider in Human Relations
Othello becomes an outsider and a foreigner due to lack of experience in human relations and communication. The hero looks different in the society where moral and ethical standards deviate considerably from his personal ideas about life and relationships. Inability to control his feelings and emotions cinches him, specifically in relations with Desdemona, Iago, and other characters of the play.
Paradoxically, despite of Othello’s apparent eloquence, he still protests “Rude am I in my speech, / And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace” (Shakespeare 381). Othello’s marrying Desdemona can also be estimated as a feeble attempt to assimilate to the society focusing less attention to his exotic appearance. However, the failure to be recognized and to be equally considered by others deprives him of the last chance to regain his identity.
The false reputations gained in the army still blind his ambitions any display of disdain and negligence toward him is perceived furiously. Therefore, Desdemona’s betrayal seems horrifying to Othello because he regards as another stab in his back and in his attempt to be considered equally in relations.
Othello also considers Desdemona’s adultery to be a confirmation of his otherness. Betrayal, thus, means the loss of reputation and, at a deeper level, his anguish and rage is caused by the identification of himself via his affection for Desdemona.
Therefore, he cannot accept because it would alternatively mean the perversion of his love: “But there, where I have garnered up my heart, / where either I must live or bear no life; / The fountain from the which my current runs, / or else dries up: to be discarded thence!” (Shakespeare 473). Othello erroneously believes that his identity and being can be expressed through his feelings, but his impulsive behavior betrays him and outcasts him once again from the rational and balanced society.
Othello’s fear of his own rage coming outside makes him even more wild and outrageous, which dooms him to be the outsider until his death (Bloom 58). Therefore, the murder was the act of liberation from the bounds of love and passion, which prevented him from struggling with his repulsive nature.
Othello’s Language and Behavior within the Context of the Play
The way Othello communicates with other members of society and expresses his feelings and emotions is another indicator of his alienation. Evaluating Othello as the outsider from the linguistic and contextual point of view is also possible. With the regard to the possibilities of the text and the context, Othello is endowed with a so called counter text and counter language with the help of which he is forced to explore himself and surrounding world (Rao 55).
In other words, Othello as the outsider “…has a grammar of his own but its syntax cannot relate to syntactical realities of the white narrative” (Rao 55). This two-polar opposition could be explicitly viewed when opposing the protagonist with other characters. Hence, Othello – Iago and Othello – Desdemona can be regarded as dichotomies that should be interpreted outside the marginal meaning and apart from prevalence of a signifier and signified.
Taking into consideration the structure of the play and its narration, it is possible to assume that Othello is antagonistically presented through his language and communication. His reactions to his own manner of communicating outcasts him from the ideal world, the world totally contrast Othello’s world. What is more important is that language serves to distinguish various social classes and roles, educational background, and means for disguising the true intensions and thoughts of Shakespeare’s characters.
Finally, the language also manages to render Othello’s willingness to appropriate his speech to the Venetian society and his role in it. Hence, the hero is forced to suppress his nature and being to be recognized by those who openly reject him.
The image of Othello’s world, hence, is reflected through his feeble attempts to imitate the language that he does not know. Othello’s characteristics language also provides reasons from being alienating from the society (Clingman 85). It identifies the failure of being assimilated in society and contradicts his racial affiliation.
The play Othello by William Shakespeare discloses very complicated topics and one of them relates to the representation of Othello as the outsider as a foreigner who fails to be recognized by the Venetian society. Due to his racial affiliation and alienation, Othello cannot be accepted by refined and rational society. Being overwhelmed with burning desire to prove his right to equally exist in the Venetian society, the hero is gradually becoming frustrated with the severe reality because he is perceived as nothing but a Moore with exotic appearance.
Therefore, such acceptance forces Othello to become an outsider and to realize his impossibility to inherit all manners and behavior that are necessary for peer existence. Therefore, his alienation and estrangement from the white world is expressed through societal attitude, Othello lack of communication and failure to establish norm human relationships, and the contextual and linguistic peculiarities of the play.
Bloom, Harold . William Shakespeare’s Othello. US: Infobase Publishing. 2010. Print.
Clingman, Stephen. The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary. UK: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Rao, P. Mallikarjuna. Postcolonial Theory and Literature. US: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 2003. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Four Tragedies. US: Penguin, 1994. Print.
Vaughan, Virginia Mason. Othello: A Contextual History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.
Jealousy in “Othello” by W.Shakespear Analytical Essay
Throughout the world, a dark, primal aspect of humanity is not hard to find. It is silent, usually never more than a whisper until it is too late, and can be as dangerous as poison. It is jealousy. Jealousy can destroy friendships, relationships, and even alliances. William Shakespeare undoubtedly knew the significance of this ugly part of human nature when writing his play Othello.
By examining the three central male characters in this play – Lago, Othello, and Cassio – Shakespeare illustrates the causes, immediate effects, and the ever-lasting bitterness that can result by allowing one to fall prey to this self-destructive affliction.
By following closely these three characters and the results of their attitudes and actions, Shakespeare presents support to the idea that the more an individual allows oneself to associate with jealousy, the more and more likely that the individual is to do harm to both those whom they love, as well as to their own person.
It is everyone’s responsibility to avoid jealousy at any cost; however, many people shun this responsibility and allow themselves to propagate this vice. Nevertheless, whilst one can choose to dodge the responsibility of living jealousy-free life, one cannot dodge its consequences thereafter.
The best thing is that, when one makes a choice, he/she chooses the consequences also and this is what Othello and Lago painfully learns later. On the other hand, living a principled life pays as in the case of Cassio. Othello and Lago are punished for their jealousy, while Cassio is rewarded for living a principled life.
Othello is the protagonist in this story. Despite the fact that he is a great storyteller and a trained soldier, he has let these good qualities and reputation to be “stained with jealousy and making emotional decisions” (Bradley Para. 4). His jealous traits become pronounced after marrying Desdemona.
After Lago plots to stain Cassio’s reputation by staging an attack at the bar, Othello comes in and sacks Cassio immediately without consultations. He says, “Cassio, I love thee / But never more be officer of mine” (Shakespeare 36). This is immature, irrational, and emotional decision; Othello should at least do some investigations before firing Cassio. To some extent this is insensitive and selfishness which resonates well with jealousy.
Due to jealousy, Othello does not trust his wife and he is even willing to kill her based on unfounded hearsays. After finding Cassio in his house, he gullibly believes Lago’s lies that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona. Othello’s jealousy consumes him making him withdraw from his wife. He says, “I will deny thee nothing / Whereon, I do beseech thee, grant me this / To leave me but a little to myself” (Shakespeare 49).
The reason why he wants to be left alone is that he cannot contain his jealousy. Human beings are bound to make mistakes occasionally; however, Othello behaves as though he is holier that thou and this is why he cannot understand Desdemona. Othello is not perfect either and the reason he acts the way he acts is that he is jealous; not that Desdemona cannot match his ‘principles’.
Finally, Othello’s jealousy hits climax when he kills his wife. Even though Lago is a schemer and is out to ruin Othello’s life, he realizes how jealous Othello is and warns him, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy / It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock” (Shakespeare 57).
Surely, this ‘green-eyed monster’ is lurking around the corner, waiting for the right time to pounce on Othello. He confesses, “When I shall turn the business of my soul/ The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt / Away at once with love or jealousy” (Shakespeare 58). The business of ‘his soul’ is to kill his wife for he questions her ‘revolt’. This tells it all and to cap it all he says he is done with her regardless of whether what he had for her was ‘love or jealousy.’
Nevertheless, as aforementioned, when one makes a decision, he/she chooses the consequences also. The immediate effects of Othello’s choice to believe every lie he hears and harbor jealousy is the breakdown of his marriage. The effects affect Othello’s life together with those around him. The long-lasting effect cum rewards of Othello’s decisions is guilt and eventually, death. After smothering his wife, he realizes that she is innocent and she did not give Cassio her handkerchief; Lago had planned everything.
Even if Othello does not die, this guilt will be long lasting and heavy to bear. However, the ultimate rewards of jealousy finally catch up with Othello as he kills himself. He says, “I took by the throat the circumcised dog / And smote him, thus” (Shakespeare 67). The ‘circumcised dog’ here is his wrong decisions and jealousy and to ‘smote it’ he has to die and thus gets rewards of jealousy, a dark, primal aspect of humanity.
Lago is the most flagitious character in this play. He is out to hurt everyone and settle scores as he enjoys people’s suffering. Surely, is not hard to find jealousy amongst human kinds. First, it is his wife; he thinks she has cheated on him by sleeping with Othello.
He says, “It is thought abroad that ’twixt my sheets / He has done my office” (Shakespeare 87). This is uncalled for as he cannot justify his claims and due to jealousy coupled with timidity, he kills Emilia, his wife. Then it comes to Cassio, after Cassio’s appointment, Lago’s jealousy is obvious.
He says, “I know my price, I am worth no worse a place/ One Michael Cassio, a Florentine, A fellow almost damn’d in a fair wife/ As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practice” (Shakespeare 29). This description is harsh and can only stem from jealousy. According to Mabillard, Othello knows Lago is not a competent man and that is why he prefers Cassio to him (Para. 5).
After arriving in Cyprus, Lago plots how to eliminate Cassio to further his plans of ruining Othello. His plans work out well and Cassio is fired; however, he does not get the post left vacant by Cassio.
He arranges Cassio to meet with Desdemona only to reveal this to Othello. Despite the fact that he knows about Cassio’s meeting with Desdemona, he says, “Cassio, my lord! No, sure, I cannot think it/ That he would steal away so guilty-like/ Seeing you coming” (Shakespeare 65). This is hypocrisy fuelled by jealousy. He has planned all these and he should defend Cassio better were it not for his jealousy.
Surely, jealousy would do anything. Apparently, Lago has been pushing Emilia to steal Desdemona’s handkerchief to use it as a proof of Desdemona’s infidelity. After he gets the handkerchief, he hurriedly places it in Cassio’s house. This gives him a foothold to accuse Desdemona of infidelity. When Othello asks for proof of infidelity, Lago vows that has seen “Cassio wipe his beard with her handkerchief” (Shakespeare 99). This is heinous act founded on jealousy.
Nothing can match Lago’s jealousy and wickedness. He seems to enjoy every bit of other people’s sufferings. Even after getting Cassio out of his job and straining Othello’s marriage, he is not satiated. He still wants Cassio dead and this is why he tells Roderigo to ambush Cassio and kill him. He tells Roderigo, “…by making him incapable of Othello’s place/ knocking out his brains” (Shakespeare 65). This is the far jealousy and wickedness can get.
However, killing to Lago is not an issue; he kills his wife and now is planning the death of Cassio. Nevertheless, there is prize for jealousy and Lago has to pay it fully. Othello attacks Lago and wounds him badly and this is the reward of jealousy and wickedness. People attract what they are, Lago is wicked; consequently, he attracts wickedness (Bradley Para. 9).
Cassio is a principled and he has no bad intentions whatsoever. Throughout the play, He lives by his principles and does not allow himself to be drawn into wickedness or jealousy. Due to his goodness, he is rewarded. First, Othello prefers him to Lago and trusts him with the coveted post of a lieutenant albeit inexperienced. The only time Cassio attacks someone is when he attacks Roderigo in self-defense.
After long time of remaining loyal to his work maintaining good relationship with everyone, he is rewarded with the post of Othello. Lodovico arrives with reveals that Cassio has been appointed as he says, “May be the letter moved him / For, as I think, they do command him home / Deputing Cassio in his government” (Shakespeare 203). This is a reward of goodness and living a principled life.
Surely, Shakespeare knew well about the primal nature of human beings characterized by jealousy. He knew for sure that, those who are jealous and wicked receive wickedness in return and those living by good principles receive good rewards in turn. Nature has way of regulating these events and it rewards everyone according to his/her actions without favoritism. Othello is gullible and full of jealousy.
He cannot trust his wife and this is why he accuses her of infidelity and finally kills her. He confesses that he really does not know what he feels for her is love or jealousy; however, jealousy takes precedence and he kills Desdemona based on unfounded accusations of infidelity. Lago on the other side is an epitome of extreme human wickedness. He is out to settle scores and hurt everyone around him.
This makes him kill Emilia; plots to ruin Othello, Desdemona, and Cassio. Nevertheless, due to their wickedness, Othello and Lago receive rewards of death and hurt respectively. Cassio on the other side receives good rewards due to his good principles. Shakespeare’s message here is, “do not be deceived, you reap what you plant” (Mabillard Para. 11).
Bradley, Alex. “Shakespeare: Othello.” Nd. Web.
Mabillard, Amanda. “The Moral Enigma of Shakespeare’s Othello.” 2009. Web. <http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/othello/othelloessay1.html>.
Shakespeare, William. “Othello.” Furness, Horace. (Ed.). Philadelphia; J. B. Lippincott Co. 1886.
Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice Research Paper
“Is Iago purely evil, or is Othello incredibly gullible? How does such a strong (or gullible) man become trapped in such plotting?”
Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragic play written at around 1603 by William Shakespeare, which addresses the encounters of Othello, the protagonist. Othello is a Venetian military general and who falls prey of Iago’s devious schemes, which are triggered by jealousy, deceit and quest for power (Hundley 4).
Shakespeare’s Iago is amoral character who drafts devious plans to lure others into his vengeance mission. Equivocally, I ago is a significant character who participates greatly in Othello’s misfortune. He is also accountable for Emilia, Roderigo and protagonist deaths. He contributes to plot development in the play in that he relates to other characters significantly.
His most important role is to accomplish the tragedy of Othello, which brings out the themes of hatred, envy and vengeance. In addition, he distinguishes Othello’s character and that of Desdemona to expose dramatic irony for the audience to be occupied (Kolin 8).
Is Iago purely evil? Yes. His inherent evilness is seen when Iago makes friends to hate each other by taking advantage of their trust toward him. To attain his mission, he uses their worries and anxieties to “make the net that shall emesh them all” (Shakespeare II. iii. 321-2). His evil motives are mostly a soliloquy that are never attained and becomes forgotten entirely. His scheme is initiated when he desires Cassio’s position of lieutenancy, which he wanted to be his.
He is envious of him and claims that he deserves and will fit into that position. Therefore, he plots a scheme to deceive, rob and eventually kill Cassio to fit in his lieutenant position. He aspires to replace Cassio’s work as a lieutenant by taking advantage of Desdemona’s naivety. He dishonors Cassio by inciting him to finish Roderigo and free him the lieutenant position when he states that “Cassio, I love thee, But nevermore be officer of mine” (Shakespeare II.iii.242-244). As a result Cassio was become unaware of the outcome.
Iago’s devious plans persist when he tactfully makes Othello to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him with Cassio even without any evidence to show for it. Iago accomplishes this mission by ensuring that Othello’s thoughts concentrates on the fact that he is being cheated on, an aspect that leads to his tragedy.
Othello instead fall into his scheme and his furry makes him hate his wife whom she doesn’t believe. Significantly, Iago awards Othello with the evil thought that he could kill his wife Desdemona, which will accomplish Iago’s vengeance mission (Hankey 5).
His devious plan is manifested when he claims that Iago had had an affair with Emilia, Iago’s life. To ascertain this fact, Othello points out that “And it is thought abroad that t’wixt my sheets/ He’s done my office” I know not if’t be true/ But I, for mere suspicion in that kind; / Will do as if for surety”(Shakespeare I.iii.381-385). Iago’s paranoia is tremendous to an extent that his insanity is portrayed when he deludes Othello to kill his own wife.
As if that is not enough, Iago robs his friend Roderigo. He uses the funds awarded to him by Roderigo to entice Desdemona. On noticing that Iago kept the money for himself, Roderigo makes threats to Iago and becomes furious about his actions. Unexpectedly, when Roderigo is informed of the scheme to entice Desdemona, his mind is eroded to forget about the money and instead, kill Cassio, whom Iago is envious of and is supposedly having an affair with Desdemona (Hankey 8).
These instances show that Iago has no conscious and therefore amoral, as depicted through his actions. He is deceptive to his wife and friends, which emphasize his evilness. He is tactful in carrying out his schemes, which however portrays his diabolical capability allowing him to erode his friends and his fife’s thoughts.
His intellectual ability is astonishing to the reader since he achieves and gets away with his devious schemes. He is able to win over other’s thoughts by targeting their desires through twisting, playing and eventually brainwashing their psychological power. These instances clearly portray Iago as having no conscience therefore, purely evil (Hundley 5).
Is Othello incredibly gullible? Yes. Othello on the other hand is a gullible character unlike Iago, who falls into the trap of Iago and falls into prey of his evil tactics. Othello’s character is dynamic having been a villain in the beginning and.
His jealousness is exposed after Iago deceives him to become vengeful and kill his wife. Othello angrily point out that “`Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her, damn her! Come go with me part. I will withdraw To furnish me with some swift means of death. For the fair devil. Now are the my lieutenant’” (Shakespeare I. iii. 122).
This susceptibility and jealousness causes his tragedy. Othello’s weaknesses is exposed by the allegedly wife’s infidelity which he takes as being unclean and disgusting. This is because he observes sex as a unifying force which bloats his paranoia. Iago’s quest to become powerful is manifest as he pursues to destroy Othello who is a Venetian military general since he is envious of his status. Iago in disbelieve wonders how easy it is to brainwash Othello and even appreciates how easy it was to do so (Kolin 203).
How does such a strong (or gullible) man become trapped in such plotting? To start with, Othello falls short of knowledge on brewing power and is therefore doomed to fail. He is in the military as a general and therefore has authority over war such as the Turkish fleet, an aspect which should be reflected in his life but fails to (Vaughan 35).
Othello’s faults indicate that his tragic end is justifiable although he did not deserve it. Being a ‘god of war’ he should have done better than having his several flaws dictates his tragic end. By doing this Shakespeare achieves the reader’s sympathy towards the protagonist.
In addition, Othello lives in his own world since he has distinct race and culture since he is not conversant with traditions in Venetian women and even marries Desdemona irrespective of her father’s disapproval. Besides, He takes women as being holy or as being filthy based on their degree of fidelity. His naivety is reflected as he does not believe his wife since he has witnessed her deceive her father before, a deception that she allegedly transfers to the matrimonial bed.
Moreover, Othello has immature communication skills leave alone his expression of personal thoughts, aspects which exaggerate his inadequacy. He says to Brabantio and Duke that “Rude am I in my speech and little blessed with the soft phrase of peace (Shakespeare 1.ll. 81-82)….. And little of this great world can I speak, More than pertains to feats of broil and battle (Shakespeare 1. ll. 86-87).
He uses violence instead of persuasion when addressing women and murders his wife for a single unproved reason of infidelity. This indicate Othello is unable to multitask and has no flexibility of reason as he trusts Iago, since he has proven to be sincere and friendly as well as being loyal to Emilia His wife.
He does not conduct introspection to evaluate his inner self but believes Iago’s incitement and insinuations blindly, becomes emotional, which leads to his irrational thinking. His gullibility ignites jealous which overwhelms him and controls his actions. Eventually, Iago accomplishes his evil schemes of destroying Othello and his wife who were deeply in love.
In conclusion, Othello’s imperfections justifies his tragic end an aspect that Shakespeare implants in the reader to depict that Othello and his like are not the best people to lead the world due to their inherent imperfections. Although he defends the residents of Venice in war, through his victories and abilities, he emerges a tragic hero since he lacks a sound reason and falls into Iago’s plot. This guilt haunts him and ultimately drives him to commit suicide as he sees it as a means of sacrifice to pay for the death of his beloved wife.
Iago’s quest for power, vengeance is accelerated by jealousy and this does not benefit him in any way. As a result, Intellectual power is necessary to enable one to have a rational and an independent thought before carrying out an action. Othello’s predicament awards sympathy to the reader, which appears more real than fiction (Vaughan 5). Therefore, Iago is purely evil while Othello incredibly gullible since he falls prey of Iago’s devious plot.
Hankey, Julie. Othello. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2005. Print.
Hundley, Sterling. Othello. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. 2005. Print.
Kolin, Phillip. Othello: New Critical Essays. New York: Routledge. 2002. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Othello: By William Shakespeare. New York: MobileReference. 2008. Print.
Vaughan, Virginia. Othello: A Contextual History. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1996. Print.
Character of Iago in “Othello” by Shakespeare Analysis Essay
The essay is a critical examination of the character of Iago in the play Othello written by Shakespeare. In literature there is always a direct link between characterization and theme development. Othello deemed to be written in 1603 revolves around four main characters; Iago Othello, Desdemona wife to a Moorish general, Cassio and the general.
The themes of the play are honesty, love, misrepresentation, self knowledge, magic, racism, oppression, pride, appearance and reality, revenge, betrayal and jealousy. For instance, in case of honesty Iago is termed “honest” racism is depicted when Othello is termed “the black with thick lips.”
Most of Shakespeare readers have painted Iago to be the most heinous and villain character of all time. He is capable of manipulating those around him propelling him to achieve his desires. For this reason, he is a character that is most loved to hate. Additionally he is the most purely malevolent character engaging in most wrongdoings.
To under stand the characters of Iago, it would be rational to clearly define the term character; in literature it has been thought of as the attributed or characteristics given to subjects used in a play, poem, novels, playwrights as well as other literature by the author to help pass across or communicate certain themes.
It is ironical that Iago is referred to as honest person. A closer examination of his deeds and motives paint him another character. However, majority of other characters are not yet aware of his deceitful and selfish character. Due to this almost all characters are in a crisis of determining who and who not to trust.
Most trust the wrong person, Iago which lead to downfall of various characters. For instance Othello said “…my ancient; a man he is of honesty and trust. To this conveyance I assign my wife” (Shakespeare 199) in reference to Iago.
It is worth mentioning here that it is this attributes that he possessed that made him successful in manipulating other characters painting him to be a strong and compelling character. Through it, he is capable of convincing Othello that his wife Emilia had and a fair. This was accomplished by him taking a handkerchief using it as evidence. It is worth noting that being a solder and always siding with Othello, Iago turns out to be a trusted advisor to Othello.
From the on set of the play, Iago complains that Cassio unfairly was promoted instead of him, due to this he plans to make both Cassio and Othello pay for this. He proclaimed himself to be an honest and trustworthy person, “Touch me not so near. / I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth / than it should do offense to Michael Cassio; Yet I persuade myself to speak the truth / shall nothing wrong him.” (Shakespeare 263).Thus everything he said seemed to be thought to be nothing but the truth.
Another major character that makes audiences love to hate him is being vengeful. It is apparent from the onset of the play that intends to revenge against anybody for instance Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Emilia among others. He seems to gain pleasure when others are undergoing pain as well as damage as results of his actions.
He first made Othello believe that his wife Desdemona had a love affair with Cassio. Iago did this by manipulating his wife (Emilia) wittily to take a handkerchief given to Desdemona by Othello, once in his possession; he told Othello that he had seen it being possessed by Cassio.
To prove things beyond doubt, with great skill, he arranged a conversation between Cassio and Bianca and carefully position Othello so that he thinks Cassio is discussing his wife. Additionally, in Act I, Scene III “Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: She has deceived her father and may thee.” (Shakespeare 194) Warns Brabantino, this statement is used by Iago to remind Othello that his wife’s father said she might betray him.
Additionally, his manipulative characteristic is depicted when convinced Roderigo a friend to side with him. Iago uses his deceitful and treacherous character in making the later hold the opinion that after making Othello go, he will win the affection of Desdemona, Othello’s wife only when he supports his plans which he did not decline.
It is no doubt that Iago is a jealous individual. This coupled with the fact that he has desire for fellow men make him hate women. This can this be attributed to the fact that he killed his own wife. Additionally, he is not happy considering the fact that he is passed in ranks. For this he carries a heavy heart and promises to revenge which he eventually did.
This was accomplished when he plan a fight between his ally Roderigo and Cassio; he took the chance to kill Cassio on the basis that the victim double crossed his friend. The character of jealous is what mainly drove him to be vengeful.
Iago can also be as not being very creative. Although he managed to put on a face of ‘honesty’ he failed to change tact when things seemed work against him. His downfall can be attributed to sticking to his plans despite the fact that it was obvious that he was not capable of seeing his own destruction and if he could see, it seemed that he just ignored it “Dull not device by coldness and delay” (Shakespeare 231).
Iago is also seen to be a funny character. In this scene, Iago can be said to have winked at the audiences while revealing his wits, skills and knowledge of manipulation. Lastly and more importantly, although Iago looked to be scheming person who is not a coward, towards the end of the play, he is seen as being a coward. Killing his wife manifests this.
From the review of the character of Iago in the play Othello by Shakespeare, it is evident that he is the one character that ‘successfully’ plays the villain and most of the audiences and readers would love to hate him. Among the characters that clearly define Iago are; he is vengeful jealous, funny, ‘honest’, manipulative, coward and lacks creativity.
For instance he failed seeing his own downfall and change tact, he went an extra mile making others suffer or completely damaged. Using his deceitful skills he destroys the relationship between Othello and his wife, kills Cassio for his own selfish interest, and kills his wife. It is definitely through him that we Shakespeare manages to bring out various themes such as revenge, jealous and betrayal.
Shakespeare, William. Four Tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. New York: Bantam Books, 1988. Print.
Racism in Play “Othello” by William Shakespeare Essay
This essay discusses the play Othello by William Shakespeare. Characters such as Desdemona, Brabantio, and Othello are analyzed in terms of racism and ignorance. Besides, the paper expounds on racism, discrimination, and attitude towards black skin in Europe during the era of this play. In addition, the treatise discusses the irony of Othello’s greatness as a general but being deceived by Iago.
Across the play, it is clear that the character Othello is often called by other characters funny names depicting racism and discrimination based on his dark skin. For instance, the father of Desdemona; Brabantio cannot stand the imagination of Othello being an item with his daughter. He is seriously enraged on finding out that Othello had been dating his daughter behind his back. Different from the other characters who call Othello racist names behind his back, Brabantio frequently refer to him as a “moor” (Shakespeare 1.2.88) on his face.
This is a racist reference to Othello’s dark skin link to North African Arabs. Often, Brabantio uses terms such as” sooty bosom” (Shakespeare 1.2.89) when talking to Othello who is his subject as the Senator of Venice city. Such comments are meant to make Othello understand the hierarchy ladder of control and authority. In my opinion, despite the visible dislike Brabantio has for Othello, these racist onslaughts are influenced by Iago.
Constantly, Iago dwells on Othello’s race when discussing his relationship with Desdemonia to Brabantio. Iago asserts, “Even now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe” (Shakespeare 1.1.97).
Skin color being a serious issue in this society, Brabantio cannot believe that his daughter could fall for such a sooty dark-skinned man. He thinks that Othello must have charmed her with a magic spell and witchcraft to have her in his arms. Without Iago’s influence on his views, Brabantio would not be so mean to Othello. Instead, he would practice racism on the fine solder only because of race difference.
In the early 17th century, in England, race dictated the role allocation in the society. The term moor was symbolically used by the whites to show disapproval for a character of undesirable traits (Julius 20). Despite the spirited writings depicting black people as equal to white people, Shakespeare’s writings were criticized.
It would be unimaginable for a Negro to claim royal birth. Blacks were considered outcast blood that is not worthy to stand in the courts of Venetian. They represented the opposite of ego, pride, cynicism, and amorality. Racist slurs were hurled at them in every slightest opportunity irrespective of the class (Julius 23). Despite Othello’s vast experience in military and holding a coveted post of a general, Brabantio refer to him as a moor (Shakespeare 1.2.88).
Reflectively, this gives an impression of a lesser human being who cannot be granted the same privileges and freedom of choice. Iago incites rejection in Othello’s love life. Since Othello is dark-skinned, the society is against his marriage to the daughter of the senator of Venice. Iago says, “Even now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe” (Shakespeare 1.1.97).
In role allocation, the white were the masters and blacks their servants. Some roles were reserved for the white supremacy. When in authority, whites were arrogant and insensitive when interacting with the blacks. With every slight opportunity, a white person would exercise authority and superiority. Openly, Brabantio calls Othello a sooty bosom (Shakespeare 1.2.89).
Being amoral being, Iago interestingly use this trait to manipulate his ways throughout the play. He is delighted in his own cunning. Besides, he is adoptive to every situation and can align himself to assume any form a situation might need. In company of any character, he is coarse, bluff, and genial. Moreover, the characters in the play prefer his easy solutions to every problem and he pretend to have best interest on Othello at heart. Though everyone is above him professionally and socially, he interacts without any ego.
For instance, in the fight between Roderigo and Cassio which he instigates, Iago tells Cassio, “I should rather have this tongue cut from my mouth than it should do offence to Michael Cassio. Yet I persuade myself, to speak the truth” (Shakespeare 2.1.80). He later convinces Othello to replace Cassio in the army for gross misconduct. This move is meant to win Othello’s trust and favor and facilitation of his scheme to replace Cassio as a lieutenant.
His goodness to Othello only serves his personal interests .Iago’s pride is of sly vindictiveness. In line 280, of scene 1 in act 2, Iago justify his hate and for Othello and is determined to cunningly revenge for a “twint my sheets…done my office” (Shakespeare 2.1.88). In pretence of loyalty, he vividly plots to break Othello’s marriage by vowing that, “till I am evened with him wife for wife” (Shakespeare 2.1.88).His vengeance insight is declared on Othello for what he presumes as a trodden pride.
In summary, the play Othello is captivating and presents racism as it was. The character Othello is gullible and easily manipulated by Iago who is below his class. Brabantio cannot approve Othello’s marriage to his daughter since he is dark-skinned. Generally, in the times of Shakespeare the blacks were despised as inferior being irrespective of their position in the society.
Shakespeare, W. Othello. Cambridge: Plain Label Books, 1968. Print.
Julius, L. Othello. New York: Turtleback Books, 1998. Print.