Othello, The Moor of Venice
There are a number of very specific literary conventions that a dramatic work must have to adhere to Aristotle's multi-faceted definition of a tragedy. One of the principle components of this definition is that a tragedy chronicles the downfall of a tragic hero. Tragic heroes are well-renowned individual with a wonderful set of virtues descended from decidedly noble lineages who are plagued by one (and only one) tragic flaw which is directly attributable to their demise (Aristotle, 2008). Upon first read, Othello, the Moor of Venice, certainly appears to follow many of these conventions. However, closer discernment of Shakespeare's characterization of Othello reveals that the Moor is not a truly Aristotelian tragic hero. Despite the fact that he is heroic, good at arms and a verifiable military leader, Othello has far too many flaws that contribute to his downfall. Whereas tragic heroes only have one…… [Read More]
Othello: The Tragedy of Internalized Racism
illiam Shakespeare's tragedy of the Moor Othello is the only major drama of the great playwright in which race plays a major role. The title character begins the play a great and esteemed general, despite the fact that he is a member of an 'othered,' despised race against which some whites have great prejudice. Othello's apparent nobleness, his military prowess, and his eloquence (despite his protestations to the contrary) all win him respect. Yet, by the end of the play, Othello's enemy Iago plays upon the Moor's insecurities and in fact tries to 'make' Othello into the barbaric creature whites accuse him of being. This is why it is said that "in Othello, the boundary between Self and Other is famously, and perilously, permeable. Othello's assimilationist efforts to claim a selfhood within the Venetian community leads, for him, to a fatal hybridity" (Marks 101).…… [Read More]
Othello as Tragic Hero
Othello, the Moor of Venice is a Shakespearean tragedy that focuses on the great war hero Othello and the lengths to which Iago goes to in order to strip Othello of his power. Iago's thirst for power commences when he is passed up for promotion and Michael Cassio is instead award the position of lieutenant. Although it would appear to be more logical that Iago target Cassio, he instead targets his superior, Othello, not only because he hates him, but also because he knows that he can easily manipulate Othello and lead him to self-destruct. Othello is categorized as a tragedy among Shakespeare's works and may further be classified as an Aristotelian tragedy as Othello appears to embody several characteristics that are attributed with being a tragic hero.
Greek philosopher Aristotle defines a tragic hero as "a [virtuous or noble] person who is neither perfect in…… [Read More]
Othello and Death Knocks: Two Characters ho Do Not Know Themselves
The definition of a tragic hero is a great man who is brought low by a single, yet fatal flaw within his character. Shakespeare's Othello can be said to have many flaws as well as virtues -- he is a great general, but he is also a poor judge of character, extremely credulous, and jealous. But all of these flaws spring from a single, larger tragic flaw. Othello does not see himself clearly, and so he does not see the world clearly. Although many people esteem Othello, Othello instead focuses on the people who look down upon him, like Brabantio, his racist father-in-law who makes many disparaging statements about Othello's skin color, even though most of Venice has nothing but praise for Othello. "To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on!" Brabantio marvels of his daughter…… [Read More]
Othello and Justice
Like many of Shakespeare's plays, Othello demonstrates how emotion and a strict personal ethic can lead to tragedy. The play is filled with intrigue, mainly on the part of Iago, another trait of Shakespeare's plays, and the characters seem to twist around their own insecurities. Linking this play to a central theme is difficult because there are so many threads that could be taken as the primary driver behind the story. But, justice, especially Othello's sense of that trait, seems to be the one thing that shapes the events of the play. In this paper, the play and its characters are examined from the perspective of justice, as it is developed in the play, and a determination is made as to who was the character most wronged.
Othello is a foreign general in the army of Venice. In the play, he is seen as somewhat insecure, even…… [Read More]
Othello: The Moor of Venice is a tragedy that was written by William Shakespeare in the early years of the seventeenth century. Essentially, the play is about a Moor, named Othello, who elopes with the fair and beautiful and white Desdemona, and he leaves Venice for Cyprus, where he is to be in command of the Venetian Army. His wife, and his lieutenant Cassio accompany Othello on this journey. The twist in the play comes at this stage, when the treacherous and traitorous Iago, who is a standard bearer, plants Desdemona's handkerchief on Cassio, and Othello, when he sees this, becomes convinced that his new wife has been unfaithful to him. Being an extremely jealous and possessive man, Othello does not hesitate to kill Desdemona in a fit of temper. It is only after this event occurs that Iago's wife reveals the truth, that it was her husband's traitorous action,…… [Read More]
Othello as a "Moor"
One term that is often disguised in the play but the reader finds out early is that Othello is a "Moor" or a black man in love with a white woman. This is scandalous for the time Shakespeare wrote the play, and it still shocking today, and yet Shakespeare does not make the love affair between Othello and Desdemona shocking, he just makes it tragic. The interpretation and even the play's events might have been different if Othello was not black, however. The difference in race between Othello and Desdemona does not seem to drive them apart, but because it is mentioned, it was clearly important. It shows the differences between Desdemona, a rich Italian, and Othello, a black, foreign Moor of a different religion and background. They were too different to ever really understand each other, and that is one reason Othello found it so…… [Read More]
Othello has used military service to prove he is not a savage to white leaders, but his reliance upon the counsel of military officers and his over-valuing of military decision-making and life makes him descend into savagery. This is true even before Iago has begun to try to manipulate his mind. After marrying Desdemona, Othello's first thoughts are of war: "The tyrant custom, most grave senators,/Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war/My thrice-driven bed of down" (I.3). Even before Othello can enjoy his wedding night with Desdemona, he must leave her for the military field, and the two are separated. Othello cannot bear to look weak, and as for even a few nights with his bride before he begins to fight again. This is perhaps the true irony of Othello as a tragic character -- not that he trusts Iago, but in his every action, even those not…… [Read More]
Othello: Fool & Hero
Every Shakespearean hero has his own unique qualities, whether those be virtue or savagery of the soul, a tragic turn to the character or a humorous nature. To some degree this may be altered and shaped by the play-actors. Othello, as a character, is a prime example of this. He may be seen, in differing productions, as a villainous and barbarous fellow and as a savage, or he may be the innocent and naturally gentle victim of the serpentine Iago. Either interpretation would be fair, for the play proposes so many different ways of looking at him through the eyes of the other characters that one would be justified in drawing any number of conclusions about the way he should be acted. In analyzing the play for character then, it is important not to base one's interpretation of Othello solely on personal instinct or the image…… [Read More]
ithout magic, Brabantio argues, Desdemona would not have chosen "So opposite to marriage that she shunned" and would not "Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom, / of such a thing as thou -- to fear, not to delight" (1.2.66-70).
Iago and Brabantio's attitudes toward people of color were very much in line with popular Elizabethan views of black people during Shakespeare's time. This is, for example, evident from Duke of Venice's attempt to defend Othello. "If virtue no delighted beauty lack," the Duke tells Brabantio, "Your son-in-law is far more fair than black" (1.3.22). hile arguing that Othello is virtuous and "fair," the Duke is suggesting that blackness has negative connotations. European attitude toward blacks is also evident from the fact that Othello eventually ends up internalizing negative connotations attached to black people. For example, learning upon Desdemona's "cheating," Othello says: "My name, that was as fresh, /…… [Read More]
He complains to Roderigo that he has been denied promotion because of Cassio's youth, breeding, and better name. "Preferment goes by letter and affection, / Not by the old gradation" (1.1.37-38). Then he vaguely alleges that the Moor may have had a tryst with Emilia, which Emilia later denies, and which seems impossible, given that Emilia and Othello have the most openly adversarial relationship in the play. Iago may be one of the most ambiguous characters in all of Shakespeare (hite 283).
Iago seems to know that he is condemned to hell -- even in the first scene, he has a premonition of his damnation: "Though I do hate him as I do hell-pains" (I.1.161). Iago seems to be searching for motivations to excuse his bad deeds, rather than to be motivated by malice alone, like a devil. Iago calls the Moor a devil: "Or else the devil will make…… [Read More]
In fact, even when Othello enters their bedchamber and talks about killing her, entreating her to pray so that she does not die with a sin on her soul, Desdemona makes no effort to run from Othello, but questions him about why he is upset. (Othello, IV. iii, 45-51).
Cassio's flaw is not as obvious in the beginning part of the play, but plays a major role in the downfall of Othello. Cassio's flaw is that he is too concerned about other people's opinions. Thus, when he begins describing Desdemona to Montano, he does so in glowing terms, despite the fact that he has no romantic interest in Desdemona and appears to have little real knowledge of her. (Othello, II. i, 79-89). Though he knows that he is vulnerable when he drinks alcohol, Cassio allows Iago to goad him into drinking, because he is concerned about Iago's opinion of him.…… [Read More]
It is also perfect because it permits Iago to draw Emilia into his schemes, whereby he can punish her for being unfaithful without dealing with whether or not his beliefs are true.
6. In what ways does "reputation" become an element of the conflict with each of the four major characters?
For Othello, reputation becomes an element of conflict because he is proud and has a certain reputation to uphold, which is threatened by the idea of his wife being unfaithful. For Iago, reputation is what drives his actions; jealousy of Cassio has caused him to lash out against the Moor, because Iago believes he should be held in higher esteem than Cassio. For Desdemona, reputation is central to her conflict because the one thing she did that was contrary to her reputation, marrying Othello, is the one thing that gives him reason to believe that she would be unfaithful…… [Read More]
" (Blackwelder) Like Shakespeare's original and Parker's version, Odin's fame and popularity and his love for Desi Brable played by Julia Stiles who is the daughter of the school's headmaster just tees Hugo off. ith jealousy and envy guiding him, Hugo plots to bring Odin down.
In Parker's version Othello, Iago is given the opportunity to take over the movie by being the one who tells the story. hen Fishburn as Othello returns from war and is reunited with Desdemona the story seems more about Iago as he convinces Roderigo, who is really chasing Desdemona, to pick a fight with Cassio so that he will lose his job. Iago then gets Cassio drunk and he eventually encounters Roderigo which leads to a sword fight and an innocent is injured trying to stop the brawl. "Always by Othello's side are his two right-hand men: Cassio (Nathaniel Parker) and Iago. However, for…… [Read More]
Othello, a tragedy by Shakespeare, can be likened to a modern day soap opera or murder drama. All the elements are there: deceit, jealousy, passions, and more. ut one mysterious element runs through this play -- the handkerchief. All throughout history, the handkerchief holds significance in many ways, from the time of Christ to the modern day.
Handkerchiefs were thought to have spiritual powers, starting when the woman in the ible just touched Christ's garment and was healed, to Oral Roberts and his prayer cloths. The first incidence of the use of prayer cloths dates back to the early 19th century when the Mormons used healing handkerchiefs. "Historian Michael Quinn writes that a group of people asked Joseph Smith to come heal them. Smith couldn't go but he pulled a red silk handkerchief out of his pocket and he said to one of his evangelists, 'You go and take my…… [Read More]
e., as Aristotle puts it, is "either a higher or a lower type [emphasis added]" (Poetics, Part II, paragraph 1). Oedipus is in fact both: someone of great stature at the beginning but reduced to being a much-unwanted exile at the end. Othello shares that destiny of reversal of fortune, i.e., "a change from bad fortune to good, or from good fortune to bad" (Aristotle, Poetics, Part VII, paragraph III). For example, Othello starts out as the Venetian Senate's choice to lead the Venetian Army at Cyprus, but in the end he is stripped of his position of military leadership (Cassio replaces him in Cyprus) and is then deposed (or would have been) from Cyprus, had he not first killed himself. Iago, on the other hand, suffers no reversal of fortune from a high place to a low one. The only change for him is that he starts out jealous…… [Read More]
Othello is, indeed, unable to 'read' Iago fully, and is initially overly confident that his merit will transcend cultural barriers. By the end of the play, Othello has become so suspicious and twisted by racism that he is unrecognizable, even to himself: "Is this the / noble Moor whom our full senate/Call all in all sufficient?" asks one observer. (4.1) parallel situation for a Black athlete is not hard to imagine. Consider a young man, from the streets, who is thrust into a world of unimaginable fortune and fame, because of his physical gifts. However, the manners and subtleties of the white world are impenetrable to him. He may date a hite woman, but has hardly been able to adjust to a world where feelings, rather than physical prowess matter more, just as Othello the general from a hard life has never been married or lived in a world of…… [Read More]
The audience is aware of Iago's nefarious nature from the opening scene of Othello. During his conversation with Roderigo, Iago confesses his hatred of both Cassio and of Othello, his commanding officer of whom he says, "I follow him to serve my turn upon him," (I.1.42). Iago's rage and vengefulness drive the play's plot forward, leading to the death and downfall of many of its main characters. Thoroughly humiliated by his being passed over for a promotion by Cassio, Iago sets forth to plan the destruction of Othello and Cassio, and along the way has no qualms about killing Desdemonda, Roderigo, and even his own wife, Emilia. Never once does Iago show the slightest hint of humanity, sadness, or remorse. He never catches himself or comes to terms with the core feelings that drive his murderous scheming. Therefore, Iago embodies a character of true evil, a man who premeditates…… [Read More]
Othello: A Dramatic Study in Venetian Alienation
According to Shakesperean scholar Maurice Hunt, "Shakespeare's Venice" in the play "Othello" strives to activate "a disturbing paradigm dependent upon the city's multicultural reputation." (Hunt, 2003, p.1) In other words, in Shakespeare's Venice, diversity creates a disturbing and tumultous environment, an environment where only alienation rather than harmony between different races and different people can be sustained. At the beginning of Shakespeare's drama, Othello is a Venetian general who is esteemed, yet finds his illusions of equal participation in the personal as well as the military life of his adopted city cruelly cut short when he marries Desdemona. Desdemona's father accuses the general, whom he often invited as a guest to his house -- "Her father loved me; oft invited me;" is Othello's first protest when accused -- of witchcraft. Only though witchcraft could Othello ensnare his white's daughter's heart, only a witch…… [Read More]
Iago paints for Othello not simply a negative picture of Desdemona, but of an entire society where men are cuckolded: "that cuckold lives in bliss/ho, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger...I know our country disposition well; / in Venice they do let heaven see the pranks/They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience/Is not to leave't undone, but keep't unknown" (3.3). Iago, ironically, even uses the fact that Desdemona loved and married the Moor against her chastity, echoing Brabatino's rhyme: "She did deceive her father, marrying you" (3.3). However, Iago adds a terrifying, seemingly strange reading of Othello's wooing with words of Othello's military deeds: "And when she seem'd to shake and fear your looks, / She loved them most" (3.3). In other words, women really crave a strong military man who is violent towards their bodies, rather than a tender and loving man who is respectful…… [Read More]
Othello and Love
Love and Othello
Love is a fleeting, passionate, agonizing, and steep theme to William Shakespeare's tragedies. Chief among these tragedies is Othello, which portrays the aspect of love in different ways. Through the eyes of the varied characters, the audience can see that love is easily thrown about to mean a number of things; true love, a phrase that seems to be used only by one character -- or one character type -- hardly figures into the picture. In fact, the presence of a clever and vengeful Iago and that of the easily-duped Othello has covered the play with uses of love that are not what the readers usually attach to Desdemona's "true love."
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word "love" in four different ways. Love is: (1) a "strong feeling of affection, a strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone"; (2) a "great interest…… [Read More]
Moreover, when Desdemona's handkerchief goes missing, and Othello approaches her about it, clearly thinking that she has given it to Cassio, Desdemona does not suspect that Emilia has taken the handkerchief from her.
Unfortunately for Desdemona, her trusting nature ends up being her fatal flaw. Othello becomes increasingly cruel to Desdemona throughout the course of the play. Although the audience is not aware of their entire romantic history, it appears that they have been involved in a platonic friendship for a substantial period of time, but only involved in an intimate relationship for a short period of time. The audience is certain that the marriage has been of a relatively short duration. However, despite the fact that there cannot be a long history of Othello treating Desdemona appropriately, Desdemona plays the role of obedient wife. At the end of the play, Othello orders Desdemona to stay in her bed. In…… [Read More]
He does so to mask his true malicious intentions. Here he shows how his manipulation is actually paying off, "[...] He [Othello] holds me well; / the better my purpose shall work on him," (I.3.382). Iago shows his audience yet another motivation for his ensuing treachery in this passage as well. Earlier in the play, Iago spoke about his own jealousy towards Cassio when Othello choose him over Iago for the position Iago desperately wanted. Despite Othello's reasoning behind his decision, Iago's jealousy has obviously not subsided at this point in the play, "Cassio's a proper man. Let me see now: / to get his place, and to plume up my will / in double knavery-" (I.3.384-386). Iago reveals that he will commit double treachery, ruining both Cassio and Othello in his plot to frame Desdemona's betrayal with the innocent Cassio.
The last chunk of the passage is where Iago's…… [Read More]
Iago notices this flaw at once and plots to exploit it almost immediately. This is evident when he tells Roderigo:
The Moor is of a free and open nature,
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by th' nose
As asses are. (Shakespeare I.iii.393-6)
Here we see that Iago intends on using Othello's open nature against him by allowing him to believe that Desdemona is cheating. Othello has a tendency to be slightly gullible - especially when he believes he is interacting with a confidant. R. B Heilman notes that it is the villain in Othello that defines the tragic hero. hen Iago describes Othello as one "loving his own pride and purposes" (I.i.12), he is describing Othello's "tragic role" (Heilman 21) a.C. Bradley observes, "Othello's mind, for all its poetry, is very simple. He is not observant. His nature tends…… [Read More]
Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragic play that details Othello's rise as an experienced combat leader and his tragic fall from grace due to his ancient, Iago's, manipulations and strategies. During the course of the play, Iago attempts to sabotage Othello through various means including informing Brabantio that his daughter, Desdemona, had married Othello behind his back in addition to successfully convincing Othello that Desdemona had been unfaithful to his, which results in Othello killing her. In the play, it can be argued that Brabantio's objection to Othello and Desdemona's marriage hinges on several factors, which include religion and social standing and background. On the other hand, Iago's motivations are fueled by jealousy and rage, as he was not promoted to the position of lieutenant like he had hoped.
Brabantio's reaction to Othello and Desdemona's elopement is very negative. Brabantio contends, "She is abused, stol'n…… [Read More]
Othello loathes the idea of marriage which makes men believe that they have their wives faithful to them forever and also tricks them into believing that their "appetites" are also saved for their husbands alone. The word appetite here refers to sexual urges and need for love. Othello thinks that by betraying his trust, Desdemona has shown that her need for love was not met by Othello alone and then she needs to satisfy her urges by having an affair.
Othello promises himself that he would rather be a toad living in a dungeon than keep an unfaithful wife which could be used by others. This is indeed a serious charge against innocent Desdemona because she had been very faithful to her husband all along and had it not been for Iago, Othello would have never ever mistrusted her.
But Othello has now started doubting Desdemona to the extent that…… [Read More]
Othello, race and difference: Othello as the black 'other'
The tragedy of the Moor Othello is that he becomes the man racist white society says he is by the end of the play. At the beginning of the story, the malicious Iago, who hates Othello for a variety of vague reasons (spanning from his failure to be promoted to his false contention that Othello cuckolded him), spurs Desdemona's father Brabantio into a rage by saying that "an old black ram/Is topping your white ewe" (1.1). This language stresses a crude racist stereotype that the figure of Othello immediately undercuts. Othello explains how he wooed Desdemona with his stories. Desdemona defies her father, who cuts her off for her disobedience. Far from the crude man Iago portrays, Othello seems calm and measured. In his first scenes In fact, the Duke of Venice says: "If virtue no delighted beauty lack/, Your son-in-law…… [Read More]
There is a continuing debate within scholarly circle about the "motiveless malignity" of Iago. (Kolin 214) In other words, a close reading of the play raises the question as to whether evil is spurred by ulterior motives and feelings such as jealously or whether evil is a purely senseless act that is its own motive.
The poet Coleridge was of the view that Iago represents senseless evil in human nature and that his character is a symbol and incarnation of evil itself; hence the famous quote, "The motive-hunting of motiveless Malignity," This refers in particular to Act 1, Scene 3 of Othello in which Iago takes leave of Roderigo. In this soliloquy Iago states that, …. I hate the Moor:
And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
He has done my office: I know not if't be true;
ut I, for mere suspicion in that kind,
Will do…… [Read More]
Iago is introduced in the first scene of the play, setting its tone and offering foreshadowing of the impending tragedies about to befall Othello. His opening statements to Roderigo garner some initial sympathy among audience members or readers. Iago is irate because Othello chose Michael Cassio, "a Florentine," to be the head lieutenant. According to Iago, Cassio is "mere prattle without practice," a man completely undeserving of the political post or having a "fair wife," (I, i,26; 21). Iago claims he should have been next in line for the position: he is experienced in the military and with Othello's own campaigns. Iago was right there with Othello in Rhodes and Cyprus, he states. Yet "preferment goes by letter and affection," and not to who is more experienced, deserving, or suitable (I, i,36). Iago lost the popularity contest; he is aware of this fact and now the audience is too.…… [Read More]
It is as if his sense of male control and dominance prescribed by the norms of the society is blinding him to her true nature. He judges her in terms of the norms of assumed female weakness. This aspect is summarized in the following quotation.
Gender relations are pretty antagonistic in Othello. Unmarried women are regarded as their fathers' property and the play's two marriages are marked by male jealousy and cruelty (both wives are murdered by their own husbands). Most male characters in Othello assume that all Venetian women are inherently promiscuous, which explains why female sexuality is a huge threat to men in the play. Othello is easily convinced his wife is cheating on him and feels emasculated and humiliated as a result
(Othello: Theme of Gender)
In a similar sense in King Oedipus, the inferior status or societal position of women can be seen in the fact…… [Read More]
Simultaneously, he forces a man long upheld as honest in the highest Venetian circles into scheming and manipulations; these are roles which Iago takes on too readily, suggesting a certain familiarity, but it must be preserved that no earlier instance is ever presented to suggest that the notables of Venice were in any way wrong to uphold Iago as honest and true. In fact, those same notables are those that appealed to Othello on Iago's behalf in the question of the promotion. Allowing passion to rule what should be societal decisions is Othello's barbarism cracking through the veneer of his civility. Othello, though a great soldier, is no Caesar nor even a Roman at all. His nature is of the wild, and -- like many tamed, wild beasts -- he retains the inner potential to one day bite the hand that feeds him.
And, even after Othello's barbarian passion has…… [Read More]
The most important feature of Iago is his permanent dissembling and his distortion of reality. This is the tool that he uses to deceive the others and to make them comply to his plan. Iago's permanent dissembling is very important for understanding the motivations behind his acts. Even from the first scene of Act I, Iago declares that he acts so as to reach his own goals, and he is not devoted to any other person or sentiment than to himself. Thus, as Iago emphasizes, he only dissembles that he "follows" Othello as a servant, but in fact, only follows himself and is only faithful to his own motivations. However, as it shall be seen, Iago can not be considered as a mere cold blooded and Machiavellic character that acts only to reach his own abstract goals. Although his first motivation is to serve his own purposes and ensure his…… [Read More]
They will go to far to hire a mercenary like Iago to pursue their goal for them. There are Othellos today as there was a shining one in Shakespeare's fiction or time. Military heroes like him have secret vulnerabilities, which reveal themselves in unguarded or trying moments. As a self-claimed victim of a foreign culture, Othello's cry of discrimination resounds in contemporary society despite his accomplishments.
Contentment in life is everyone's universal pursuit. That pursuit takes on what the present culture makes available and is most suitable at the moment. Othello perceives that his contentment goes beyond acclaim and military power. It includes having a dutiful and beautiful wife in Desdemona. He pours his weakest on him and on a scheming subordinate, Iago. Othello's credulousness is not confined to Shakespeare's time. Credulousness is universal. People living and thriving in a country with a different culture must invest in trust or…… [Read More]
Shakespeare uses the soliloquy in Act 2 Scene 3 lines 335-362 to demonstrate to the audience Igao's nature and to provide insight into his character. In this scene, Igao reveals a devious plot that involves three other characters in the play with the intention on destroying two of them, Othello and Cassio. The third, Desdemona, is secondary and her function to him is only as a vessel to carry his plan into action.
By content alone, one may deduce that Igao lacks strong character and a high moral value. It is difficult to believe that a character with a strong sense of morality would hatch such a plot, regardless of the circumstances that causes Iago's actions. We know that the circumstances that fuel his motivation certainly do not warrant this type of action by Igao. But for argument's sake, even if the circumstances were different and Iago was not…… [Read More]
He had sent all the servants for a leave with an excuse that it was carnival time, though his intention was to conceal his action (Rawls 54). He managed to convince Fortunato to put on a cloak so that nobody would recognize him on the way and this was another way of concealing the intended action.
Some of the remarks that Fortunate made on the way hurt Montresor making him to justify and accomplish his mission. At one time Fortunato told Montresor that he does not remember Montresor's court of arms. He tried to illustrate as containing a human foot that crushes a serpent with words such as no one that has impunity that can attack. The illustration and the message was a way of showing that Montresor's family was always on revenge mission. Montresor considered it as an insult and triggered his urge to revenge. On the way, they…… [Read More]
In the context of Othello, this is not such a reassuring notion because Othello and Iago represent the worst that man can be. The reality of this fact allows us to look upon Othello is disgust and with caution. These two men are known by their first names worldwide not because they are nice but because they are the farthest from it. They are human and they are evil and this combination forces us to see humanity, warts and all. Alvin Kernan agrees with this notion adding that when Shakespeare wrote Othello his "knowledge of human nature and his ability to dramatize it in language and action were at their height" (Kernan xxiii). e love Shakespeare because we can relate to his characters - even if they frighten us.
Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead Books. 1998.
Bradley, a.C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on…… [Read More]
Othello, by William Shakespeare. Specifically, it will contain a major and minor character analysis. Othello and Desdemona are intertwined in the play, and the tragic fall of Othello could not occur without Desdemona's ultimate betrayal.
The major character of Othello in the play "Othello" is a tragic hero who allows himself to be manipulated by those around him, especially Iago and Desdemona. Othello is an interesting character, in that he is a "moor," or a black man in a largely white world, who indeed marries a white woman. He is a strong leader, who is given command over Cyprus, and is generally accepted by those around him, as this passage shows, "And, noble signior, If virtue no delighted beauty lack, Your son-in-law is far more fair than black" (Shakespeare Act I, scene iii).
Unfortunately, Othello trusts his "friends" too much, and they plan and plot against him, ultimately leading…… [Read More]
transformation of Othello in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice proves to be an interesting element that adds depth and complexity to one of history's best plays. Shakespeare keeps us guessing about Othello's true nature by making him appear good in the beginning of the play but allowing us to see his true nature only after he kills Desdemona. This paper will examine how Othello's characteristics seem to change, but in reality, he never changes but simply reveals his true self.
To introduce us to the complexity involved with Othello's character, Othello's reputation is under attack from the beginning of the play is because of Iago's remarks. Because we do not really get a glimpse of Othello until the third act of the play, Shakespeare has created suspense within us concerning Othello. Shakespeare at the same time is creating a sense of dislike within us for the…… [Read More]
Humanities 202 FINAL EXAM
Emilia: the wife of Iago. She provides the handkerchief for her husband, unwittingly facilitating Iago's orchestrated revenge upon Othello. However, she sympathizes with Desdemona, regarding all men as savages. She represents the ugly side of Iago's view of women, as there are hints Iago has abused her and he openly treats her cruelly when she irritates him -- eventually he kills her when she reveals his scheme.
Roderigo: a commoner who foolishly and hopelessly loves Desdemona, and stupidly trusts Iago. Like Othello, he also is desperate to advance in society and subject to the green-eyed monster of jealousy over a woman. Like Iago he is also jealous of those of more military advancement than himself.
Cassio: Michael Cassio is the man who Othello promotes to lieutenant rather than Iago at the beginning of the play. He is handsome and dashing, even though he is less experienced…… [Read More]
Spreading the Word of God
Othello, a Brief Analysis
Anyone who has read Othello understands what Shakespeare was attempting to portray as it relates to Christianity. His audience, Christians, desired stories that they could relate to, but also had some form of lesson or message in them as it relates to their faith. Shakespeare himself was raised Christian. Therefore the setting of his stories, like that of Othello, has a Christian setting to help better portray the Christian acts and symbols. The play has many instances and speeches that symbolize and signify something related to Christianity. A good instance of this is when Othello tells Desdemona to pray and Iago when he discusses how he views himself. The Great Commission as expressed in the Bible, deals with the work of disciples and believers of Christianity to spread the faith the message of God. In Othello the word of God is…… [Read More]
Othello: The Moor of Venice
Did Shakespeare intend for the character Othello to be a dark-skinned African or did he intend for Othello to actually be a Moor, with swarthy skin color? It is clear from the title of the play that the Bard intended Othello to indeed be a Moor, but what do scholars say about Shakespeare and race -- and who were the Moors? How is the character Othello portrayed today? These are points that has been debated and discussed for as long as the play has been seen on stage -- and read in print format. The question that is not asked often is -- does it really matter what the skin color Othello has on stage? Thesis: racism has no doubt played a role in the many Othello characters that have appeared on stage, but the play is so brilliantly composed that if indeed bigoted attitudes…… [Read More]
Othello as Tragedy
Othello as Tragic Hero
Aristotle defines tragedy as "an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament…; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions" (Aristotle, 1970, p. 43). The main points of the definition are found here: tragedy should be cathartic and should be a complete representative of a serious action. Moreover, Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero is that he must be better than the average man in order for his fall to be that much more dramatic and moving. In order for a character to be a tragic hero he must first of all be good, conforming and appropriate to the moral standards of his times, true to life, and consistent. With this in mind, it is fair to…… [Read More]
Othello Is a Tragic Hero
Othello is an Aristotelian tragedy
This paper will show that Othello can be correctly labeled a "tragic hero" and that the play fits the form and function of the Aristotelian tragedy according to the model as it is understood and interpreted by critical scholars.
Defining the tragic hero and the Aristotelian tragedy
The tragic hero is good, valorous, true to life and consistent
The Aristotelian tragedy is complete, an imitation of an action and produces a cathartic effect through fear and pity
Othello is a Tragic Hero
He is Good
The senate loves him because he is strong
Desdemona loves him because he is brave
His men love him because he is a leader
He has Manly Valor
He is viewed as a moral man
He is unafraid of meeting a challenge
c. He is true to life
He has faults and weaknesses
He falls…… [Read More]
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. eaders 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 (ees). 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…… [Read More]
Othello as a Tragic Hero
Thesis: Othello fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero because he meets all four of the philosopher’s conditions: 1) he is great, 2) he demonstrates nobility or manly valor, 3) his character is authentic and true to real life, and 4) he is consistent. The play also fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragedy as it effects pity and fear in the audience.
a. Aristotle’s definition of tragedy and the tragic hero
b. Thesis statement
a. Othello is better than the average man—he is a hero of Venice and rightly so
b. Othello demonstrates manly valor and that is why he is beloved by the Venetians and by Desdemona
c. Othello is true to life—nothing about is so unbelievable that it makes the play unrealistic
d. Othello is consistent—his fall is a consequence of flaws in his character that are evident…… [Read More]
This intellectual error thus prevents Othello from thinking clearly about his wife after Iago has planted the idea that Desdemona has been unfaithful to him. Furthermore, "The Fall of Othello," John Arthos notes, "Othello fell into chaos before the murder was done" (95). Othello's confusion is evident as he tells Iago, "I think my wife be honest and think she is not;/I think that thou art just and think thou art not (Shakespeare 3.3.385-386). Iago manipulates Othello into believing women cannot be trusted based on his own prejudices against them. Iago, in a conversation with his wife Emilia claims that women "are pictures out of doors,/Bells in your parlours, wild-cats in your kitchens,/Saints in your injuries, devils being offended,/Players in your housewifery, and housewives in your beds" (2.1.111-114).
Iago further exploits Othello's uncertainties about Desdemona to the point where he eventually convinces him that he must kill Desdemona for her…… [Read More]
Shakespeare's Othello: Is it a tragedy according to Aristotle?
Aristotle and tragedy
Aristotle defines tragedy as imitation of an action that is serious and has a certain dramatic and complete magnitude. Tragedy to Aristotle is something that is:
"A form of drama exciting the emotions of pity and fear. Its action should be single and complete, presenting a reversal of fortune, involving persons renowned and of superior attainments, and it should be written in poetry embellished with every kind of artistic expression. (Poetics, Part IX)
Aristotle saw tragedy as a simulation of an event that aroused pity and fear in the individual and, by doing so, served as a form of catharsis in the individual could identify with the plot and feel a certain sort of purging or relief (VI.2).
In fact, it is this sense of purging that most distinguishes the tragedy from the comedy or epic (for instance)…… [Read More]
Diasporic Identities: In Othello and Heart of Darkness
The issue of Diaspora is often associated with only a single culture, that of the Jews who were challenged by the secular and Islamic leaders of their "homeland" to flee for their lives and believe that they are in constant wandering upon the earth. Yet the concept of Diaspora is much broader than that, as individuals and groups often feel disconnected from their homeland both figuratively and really in literature and life. In the two works, Shakespeare's Othello and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness one can clearly see the literary expression of diasporic identities. This work will argue that each of these works, Othello and Heart of Darkness demonstrates the reality of the challenges one faces when one uproots him or herself from the origin culture and begins to wander the earth without a home and the feeling of security that the…… [Read More]
He complains that his name "is now begrimed and black" (3.3.384) and fears that Desdemona has made him a "fixed figure for the time of scorn" (4.2.53). His fears might be those of any man, insecure in his position, concerned about how he is viewed. Thus, both heroes are true to life in that each has his own particular faults, like any man.
Aristotle's fourth condition of the tragic hero is "consistency: for though the subject of imitation…be inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent" (43). As Aristotle suggests, both characters are inconsistently consistent, though in their own ways. Oedipus bounces from being high-minded, caring and affectionate to being almost simple-minded, careless and angry any time his pride is pricked. For example, even when the evidence all points to the truth of what the priest says, Oedipus is reluctant to admit it; yet when his wife tries to undermine what…… [Read More]
My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty;
I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my husband,
And so much duty as my mother show'd
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor my lord.
(Othello, Act 1, Scene iii, lines 179-188)
Desdemonda's character is defined early in Shakespeare's Othello. She plays a supportive role, allowing the nature of Othello's character to emerge clearly by the end of the play. Here, Desdemonda defends both herself and her husband. The passage tells the audience much about gender roles and norms in Elizabethan society, as Desdemonda speaks of her father as the "lord of duty," and refers to a…… [Read More]
Othello's final speech in Act five of the play, paying close attention to poetic elements as well as imagery within the passage.
The analysis should be clearly focused and based on evidence found within the text. The essay should reflect a clear understanding of the play based on in-depth reading of the play for broader issues and intent by the author.
Othello's final speech redeems him even after he murders his wife and is duped by Iago. His eloquence and his ability to use words to his advantage make him a persuasive character in this tragic play.
To understand the final speech by Othello within the content of the play, first one needs to understand Shakespeare's writing style within this play and his development of his character, Othello. The play, Othello is considered a tragedy play. In particular, this type of play usually uses prose that can measure a collapse…… [Read More]
Othello by William Shakespeare and the film version of the play directed by Oliver Parker. Specifically it will analyze play from a dramatic and design point-of-view. The film, released in 1995, stars Laurence Fishburne, Irene Jacob, and Oliver Parker. This film is an excellent rendition of Shakespeare's classic play, made even more appealing by the exceptional acting by Laurence Fishburne, who brings a sensual side to the role that is quite effective.
There have been many performances of Shakespeare's play "Othello" on the stage and in film. One of the best is the 1995 version that starred Laurence Fishburne as Othello. His performance made this dramatic play even more memorable and understandable, and truly brought the character of Othello to life. He gave Othello a sensual quality that helped explain Desdemona's attraction to him, and added another dimension to the character. The film also highlighted the racial tension at the…… [Read More]
A lot of genres throughout history have been tested over time among which 'tragedy' has been the most favorite one. Tragedy reveals a debacle tale of a good or valuable person through misinterpretation and fatal mistakes along with the production of misfortune and awareness on the protagonist's part and arousal of fear and sympathy on the audience's part. Aristotle, an ancient Greek thinker, is considered to have been the key ruling forces of tragedy. 'Poetics,' a masterpiece literature is considered to be the key authority that defines a true misfortune (Aristotle, 1968, pgs 33-35).
A character filled with tragedy must lift the story plot in every tragedy and that hero has to accomplish particular rules to be called a tragic hero. Aristotle presents some rules of a tragic hero which state that the character should not be displayed fleeting through an excellent fortune to a bad one; while…… [Read More]
Jealousy in Othello
Othello, by William Shakespeare, is a play demonstrating that we all have strengths and weaknesses and that while the best of us will focus on people's strengths, the worst of us will not only not weaknesses but use them in destructive ways. Throughout the play, the weakness of jealousy, directly or indirectly, brings the destruction and downfall of all the major characters, including not only Othello and his bride Desdemona, but Iago, his wife Emilia, Roderigo and Cassio.
Othello is particularly vulnerable because, being a Moor, he is somewhat an outsider (Weller, PAGE). He is accepted as a leader in society and as a great military man, but he is aware of his differences. He used them to charm those around him, wooing and winning the beautiful Desdemona and then defending her marriage to others, but the villain of the play, Iago, knows that it can be…… [Read More]
Iago and Othello are taken from the play Othello penned by Shakespeare, a master at depicting psychological and personality nuances among characters. Othello is the same sort of a play that personifies vengeance more than any other emotion.
There are some fundamental differences between the character profiles of Iago and those of Othello that shall be discussed here. The plot of the play revolves around Othello who is the protagonist in this tale, sharing his limelight with Iago, who has more lines and wrecks more havoc than any other villain in Shakespeare's characters. (Rosenberg)
Othello is the moor who is in love with Desdemona, while Iago is his faithful soldier, who has been as Othello's side for a long time, but was superseded by Cassio, Othello's subsequent choice of an admiral for himself. While this might not have been the only reason of Iago's jealousy, it does add to the…… [Read More]
Humanity Revealed in Shakespeare's Othello
Shakespeare knew what he was doing when he creating characters full of good and bad qualities. We need only to look at his drama, Othello, to see a wide range of them. Othello, Iago, and Desdemona are colorful creations of human nature. What they reveal is the astonishing truth that regardless of how much we "progress" as a society, we do not change a whole lot. We make find ourselves finding cures for certain diseases, playing with technological gadgets, and exploring space, but the truth remains that we are still the same kinds of human beings Shakespeare watched every day. Shakespeare highlights jealousy, trust, racism, and physiological drama in Othello and these themes are very much a part of our modern society. At the end of the day, we are still human and are driven by our basal desires, which can ultimately lead to our…… [Read More]
illiam Shakespeare's Othello that support the view that Iago, the chief antagonist and primary arch-villain of the play, has been imbued with and personifies a supernatural malevolence to fuel his hatred of the protagonist, Othello. This interpretation of Iago's characterization, however, is tempered by his all too human reasons for being possessed of such a fury towards his enemy: the former believes Othello has slighted him for a military promotion and eventually comes to suspect that the latter may have had a sexual relationship with his wife. Despite such seemingly concrete, logical reasons for despising another, Shakespeare takes great pains to employ devices of description, actions, and dialogue, which support the interpretation that Iago is an infernal creature whose verbal and physical manifestations seem to be aligned with evil incarnate, or at least directly juxtaposed with those of providence. Closer examinations of passages involving Iago and his methods of attempting…… [Read More]
Iago in Othello
Othello is one of the most important and popular Shakespeare tragedies where the playwright highlights the maliciousness of human nature and the way it can destroy some naive souls. Iago is the villain in this play who is presented as an epitome of deceit and malice. However this has been done while keeping the character wrapped in thick clouds of honesty and truthfulness. This is a strange paradox as the on the surface we are repeatedly told that Iago is an honest man and he also considers himself to be so, while beneath all this fake honesty, he is always trying to stab someone in the back.
Because of his crafty nature, this character can also be considered a true Machiavellian figure. Close reading of Machiavelli's work reveals certain link between Iago and Machiavellian prince. Yet despite all his slyness, the character repeatedly claims to be an…… [Read More]
Poetry of Othello
Emilia is the person speaking, and she is the wife of Iago. She is speaking to Desdemona, and she is discussing the faults of men, and how they tend to blame them on women. Desdemona replies that one must not counter bad with bad, thus reiterating the meaning of the play.
But I / do think / it is / their hus / bands' faults
If wives / do fall. / Say that / they slack / their duties
And pour / our trea / sures in / to for / eign laps;
Or else / break out / in pee / vish jeal / ou sies,
Throwing res / traint upon / us; or / say they / strike us,
Or scant / our form / er hav / ing in de / spite
Why, we / have galls; / and though / we have…… [Read More]
Iago's view of sexual desire contrasted with Othello's
In the play Othello, William Shakespeare is showing the conflict of sexual desire between a man and woman. This is taking place, when Othello (a military commander) marries a woman named Desdemona. However, her father (Roderigo) is upset about this relationship. The reason why, is because he has heard some negative rumors about Othello from Iago (his aide). Iago, was supposed to be promoted to lieutenant, but was passed over by Othello for an inexperienced soldier. This creates a conflict between the two with Othello, by telling Roderigo a number of stories about their relationship. Once this occurs, is when Roderigo will do anything to kill Othello. ("Plot Overview," 2011)
Then, there was news that the Turks have invaded Cyprus and Othello was order to the region (by his superiors). Iago returned to his unit and began to use the…… [Read More]