Interpretation And Analysis Othello Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #67071991
Excerpt from Essay :


Of the alleged chief tragedies penned by Shakespeare, Othello has led to a certain degree of embarrassment. This 'domestic tragedy' lacks the dynastic and political consequences that characterize Macbeth, Hamlet, and Lear. The protagonist, Othello, behaves like a blockhead. Readers are led into doubting his claims to greatness right from the start. The Bard of Avon is famous for his interest in identity issues. Antagonists may cruelly impose themselves on other characters and assert their self-identity, but sensitive characters require external identity confirmation (Rees). Othello's unique rawness stems from the way the playwright has dramatized the normal and ordinary, and exposed such normalcy as intrinsically cruel and horrific. A number of contemporary critics account for Othello's conduct by claiming it arose from the black Othello's insecure feelings in a white racist society. But I personally believe this tale compellingly fights racism (a theory that hypothesizes an essential difference between whites and blacks) by depicting Othello as very much like all white husbands. Intriguingly, of all the jealous husbands Shakespeare has ever introduced, the black Othello garners maximum respect and empathy from both the play's characters and its readers. But his color, in no way, diminishes his authority over Desdemona. Ironically, society's prejudice against Othello makes Desdemona an outcast, placing her further at Othello's mercy. Being murdered by one's husband differs from being murdered by others since the victim (wife) is utterly in the killer's power (Vanita). This paper's thesis revolves around the play's male characters; however, this analysis of a tragic tale of faith and treachery is incomplete without Desdemona. To comprehensively appreciate Othello, one needs to consider it with respect to women, as it plays a critical part in Shakespeare's steadfast interest in women's role and nature.

Importance of Othello as a play

Othello may be considered one of Shakespeare's greatest works for a couple...


If one believes Much Ado About Nothing accumulates past motifs and signals Othello, the latter play itself is a collection of the recurrent subjects of faith and treachery, female nature and love, in a manner in which late romances offer a decisive commentary. One mustn't doubt Othello's significance. Examining Othello after reviewing the themes of faith and treachery in other works of Shakespeare allows one to, at the very least, have a fresh look at the obsolete discussion of Othello's jealousy (Rees). Iago's lofty dream of confirming his self-view is shattered after Cassio is named Othello's lieutenant, instead of Iago:

'I know my price, I am worth no worse a place', Iago declares in fury (I. i. 2)

Othello's self-image is strangely clear and definite, and allows him to put forward his history before the Senate and Doge the way he is shown doing. He is confident owing to his awareness that his life and the image he projects are acceptable to the state, thanks to Desdemona's love and acceptance of him. He doesn't expect a white lady's love, but it grows into the most valuable confirmation of his self-image and his life's works. Selfhood and love turn into a 'knot intrinsicate'. Consequently, when he finds himself in fearful doubt, he experiences a harsh outburst and rants unintelligibly at the dissolution of his identity and life into the 'chaos' naively predicted by him. As portrayed in Ludovico's incredulous question (Rees):

Is this the noble Moor whom our full senate

Call all in all sufficient? This the noble nature,

Whom passion could not shake? (IV. i. 260-2)

Iago -- The character that drives others

Iago is undoubtedly the best-known of Shakespeare's villain. Iago is not just a character; he is concurrently a director dictating other characters' actions and, as a consequence, the course of the entire tale. He is both servant and master, confidante and enemy. Without any overt object, Iago plans and executes his actions. His duality corroborates his complexities; he is no ordinary revenge-seeker. His malevolence is perceptible from his ambiguous reasons for revenge and his recurrent references to man's animalistic nature. His careful scrutiny of Othello's qualities leads to the realization that Othello is honest, naive and honorable and can never discern deceit. Ever judging others' actions using his own principle of integrity, Othello would certainly not question the reasons behind Iago's actions. He is very different from Iago, who looks beyond others' actions. But rather than appreciating this trait in Othello, he considers this a weakness to be exploited. Iago's superior judgment of others' character makes exercising his plan simple. He manipulates Othello and convinces him to trust everything…

Sources Used in Documents:


Corbett, Lisa Ashley. "Male Dominance and female exploitation: A study of female Victimization in William Shakespeare Othello, Much Ado about nothing, and Hamlet." ETD Collection for AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library (2009). Thesis.

Djundjung, Jenny M. "Iago and the Ambiguity of His Motives in Shakespeare's Othello." Jurusan Sastra Inggris (2002): 1 - 7. Journal.

Goll, August. "Criminal Types in Shakespeare." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1939): 22 - 51.

Rees, Joan. "Othello as a Key Play." The Review of English Studies - Oxford University Press (1990): 185 - 190.

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