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It's Complicated: Shakespeare's Othello Essay

1885 words - 8 pages

People do idiotic things. No matter how hard you try and how careful you think you may be, you are bound to make mistakes sometime in your life. Whether it is as small as spelling a word wrong or to as large as causing someone or something's demise even though it may not entirely be their fault. In the Shakespearean play Othello, Iago is seen as a ruthless, power hungry man who wants to see Othello burn. Othello on the other hand appears to be a wise general who only has one weakness in particular: Desdemona. He is flat out head over heels for her which Iago uses to his advantage through the green eyed monster itself: jealousy. Jealousy is one of the main themes within the play, and plays a very important role in the tragic outcome where Othello kills Desdemona and everything unravels. At the end of the play one may ask themselves "why do I feel sympathy for this man?" Othello treated Desdemona so harshly after he obtains 'information' from Iago that she is cheating on him, and we still have sympathy for him? In the events that take place within the play, one may still feel sympathy for Othello as jealousy gets the best of us, effecting how we think and causes us to do stupid things that we would not do under different circumstances.
Throughout the course of the play, Othello is seen as a great and courageous general when, even at the point of his demise, retains some of his previous image. In act one, we begin to see the general consensus of how Othello is seen by the citizens within the play through various stories told by the people of Venice. When Desdemona's father accuses Othello of stealing his daughter through dark magic, Desdemona steps in to ease their minds proclaiming: "I saw Othello’s visage in his mind, / And to his honors and his valiant parts / Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate (I.iii.253-255). This is one of the first times in the play that we really hear what people actually think of Othello (other than Iago and Brabantio who both have their appropriate reasons for hating him) considering the colour of Othello's skin in the time period. Taking this into account Othello actually starts off as a likeable character who we would most likely root for within the play. Now we move into act two where we begin to hear more and more about how not so large characters within the play feel towards Othello. Just after Cassio leaves insisting that he is not drunk, Iago and Montano have a little conversation about Cassio and his 'drinking problem'. Montano then goes to say,
The general were put in mind of it.
Perhaps he sees it not; or his good nature
Prizes the virtue that appears in Cassio,
And looks not on his evils: is not this true? (II.iii.129-132)
Through this we can now see that Othello's image gradually progresses throughout the play as more and more positive traits are identified by different characters which also can be used by Iago to his advantage. Now we move onto act five of the play when Lodovico speaks directly to...

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