Mirror Of Good And Evil Essay

821 words - 4 pages

In William Shakespeare’s Othello, the tragic hero, Othello, and the antagonist, Iago, are portrayed in very differing ways. Despite this fact, Iago represents the glaring faults and imperfections that Othello has, which ultimately leads to his downfall. Shakespeare very effectively uses Iago as a device to reveal Othello’s hamartias. The jealousy, mistreatment of women and racial insecurities are all flaws that Othello exhibits which are reflected in Iago’s character as well. As Othello’s flaws transpire in the course of the play, these same flaws are mirrored in Iago’s actions and attitude.
To begin, the jealousy that emerges in Othello becomes his fatal flaw and it ultimately leads to his downfall. This jealousy causes him to transform from a caring husband to a homicidal murderer. Othello is “green-eyed” because he believes that Cassio is having sexual relations with his wife and because Cassio will take his position in command in Cyprus. He proclaims, “Oh, that the slave had forty thousand lives! One is too poor, too weak for my revenge…Swell, bosom, with thy fraught, for ’tis of aspics' tongues!” (3.3.442-460), which indicates that, as a result of jealousy, he wants to kill Cassio in vengeance. However, it is ironic that Iago is tormenting Othello and manipulating his shortcomings of jealousy when in truth, he is also jealous. In fact, he conceives this entire plot to bring the downfall of Othello and Cassio because of jealousy. In the beginning of the play, he says that Cassio has “never set a squadron in the field” (1.1.22), and that he is completely unqualified and undeserving of the position that he desires. Furthermore, he is also jealous of Othello for purportedly “[twixting his] sheets” (1.3.324) and “[doing his] office” (1.3.326). It is evident that Shakespeare parallelizes Othello and Iago’s jealousies.
As the play develops, Othello is manipulated into an unforgiving murderer who mistreats and objectifies women, including Desdemona. This changing attitude that Othello has emulates Iago’s misogynic attitude. When Iago discloses Othello with unfounded evidence of Desdemona’s infidelity, Othello begins to refer to her with very obscene and objectifying language. Othello indirectly calls her a “lewd minx” (3.3.484) and then even stoops down to the level of directly calling her a “strumpet” (4.2.91) and a “whore” (4.2.97). When the jealousy fully controls...

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