This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The True Beast In Othello Essay

3179 words - 13 pages

The True Beast in Othello

 
    "What is left when honor is lost?" This maxim from first century BC plays a pivotal role in Shakespeare’s play Othello. The question serves as a basis for the struggle between Othello and Iago. Both men are engaged in a battle over Othello’s honor. Iago is intent on destroying Othello’s sense of honor and reducing him to a bestial state. Iago views Othello as a beast masquerading in warrior’s dress. He wants to return Othello to what he believes to be his natural bestial state, and he realizes that to achieve this goal he must dupe Othello into violating his code of honor. Ironically, as Iago tries to unmask Othello’s bestiality, it is the beast within Iago that is exposed.

From the beginning of the play, Iago’s view of Othello as a beast is obvious. Iago repeatedly describes Othello in terms of animals. When Iago attempts to incite Brabantio’s anger, he does so by referring to Othello in vulgar, bestial terms. He says to Brabantio, "Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tuping your white ewe" (1.1.89-90). He continues with, "you’ll have your daughter cover’d with a Barbary horse; / you’ll have your nephews neigh to you; / you’ll have coursers for cousins and gennets for germans" (1.1.110-114). He even exclaims to Brabantio that "your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs" (1.1.117-118).

Each of these animalistic phrases could be viewed only as Iago’s attempt to anger Brabantio if it were not for the fact that Iago also refers to Othello as an animal when he is alone. In his soliloquy at the end of Act 1, Iago says that Othello "will as tenderly be led by th’nose / As asses are" (1.3.395-936). He again refers to Othello as an ass in Act 2: "Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me, / For making him egregiously an ass" (2.2.302-303). Whether alone or accompanied, Iago’s views on Othello are clear; he sees him as "an erring barbarian" (1.3.350) who can be duped into committing murder.

Iago’s reasons for wanting Othello to murder Desdemona are never satisfactorily explained. As Iago himself says, "What you know, you know" (5.2.306). He gives various reasons for wanting to destroy Othello, but none ring completely true. He is disgruntled because of Cassio’s promotion over him. He suspects Othello of bedding his wife. But why is he determined to have Othello murder Desdemona? His plot seems based on sport rather than reason. Iago truly hates the Moor, but his hate is not grounded in any firm reason. As the play progresses, Iago’s motive never fully crystallizes, but his determination to dupe Othello into murder, thereby destroying his sense of honor, grows stronger.

Early in the play Iago realizes that Othello’s idea of honor is intertwined with his concept of justice. Othello, more than any other character in the play, is obsessed with justice. Iago recognizes this; he realizes that for Othello to become a beast he has to violate his sense of justice. With...

Find Another Essay On The True Beast in Othello

The importance of "the beast" in "Lord Of The Flies"

1057 words - 4 pages The beast, in "Lord of the Flies", is a very important figure. He is first introduced near the beginning of the story and only reveals himself in the end, to only one boy-Simon. The beast was evil and played its part in the story’s plot well. It gave the story a greater sense of realism; it played up the savagery and the pain taking over the boys’ lives. The beast itself represented many things in the novel and changed as the book went

The evil in othello Essay

1771 words - 7 pages IAGO: THE EVIL IN OTHELLO L'Antoinette Lemond One of the most interesting and exotic characters in the tragic play, Othello, is "Honest" Iago. Despite Iago's unquestionable malignancy, the motivation behind his actions lie more in Iago's quest for personal gain, as opposed to just being evil for evil's sake. Iago doesn't have a valid reason for the troubles he cause except that he has a burning

The Moor in Othello

1478 words - 6 pages The Moor in Othello        Who can resist empathizing with the unfortunate protagonist in William Shakespeare’s Othello? He is so noble, and yet so victimized by the cunning Iago.   Is it his “gullibility” which leads to his downfall? Morton W. Bloomfield and Robert C. Elliott  in Great Plays: Sophocles to Brecht posit the “lack of insight” of the hero as the cause of his tragic fall:   Othello’s lack of insight, cunningly

The Lieutenant in Othello

1107 words - 4 pages The Lieutenant in Othello        Iago, in the Bard’s tragedy Othello, detests in an irrational way the very person of Cassio. Does Michael Cassio deserve the governorship of the island of Cyprus? What is his relationship with Bianca? Let’s look at these and other questions relating to the lieutenant in this essay.   David Bevington in William Shakespeare: Four Tragedies concludes that it is the “daily beauty” in the life of the

Love in The Beauty and the Beast and Shrek

1266 words - 5 pages give Princess Fiona, true loves first kiss, which turns her into an ogre forever. The two fall in love and get married. Not only did they fall in love, but Donkey and the Dragon fell in love as well. Love was the major theme for Beauty and the Beast. The love for a father, a beast/ man, and for one’s self. Papa, an inventor that does not yet have a following, took a wrong turn and came upon a castle where he went in to rest for a

'The Beast in the Jungle' by Henry James

2421 words - 10 pages James was personally and privately acquainted. There is also the belief that everything an author produces is autobiographical to a certain extent. And supposing 'The Beast in the Jungle' is largely autobiographical, once again I ask what was James' intention? Is the story so autobiographical that James felt it necessary to create an elaborate smoke-screen to elude the critics of its true meaning in view of his personal life? Was the aesthetic

The Use Of Beast Fable In "The Nun's Priet's Tale"

560 words - 2 pages In Geoffrey Chaucer'sThe Nun's Priest's Tale, human characters contrast with the animal characters. Called a beast fable, the animals in the tale take on human characteristics. Although all of the characters - the widow, Chaunticleer, Pertelote, and the fox - are all relatively human, they are far different from each other. What is especially interesting is the way Chaunticleer and Pertelote interact with each other. The two characters, though

Taming the Beast in Lord of the Flies

733 words - 3 pages , where students including myself are always choosing a tougher challenge because of our inner drive. These are all the everyday choices we make because of an inner, human instinct for structure and rules. The final archetype character I associate my own personality with is Simon. Simon is very different from any other boy on the beach. He represents the scarcity of true goodness, in the face of overwhelming evil. Again, Golding has proven

Feminism and Chauvinism in Beauty And The Beast

1530 words - 6 pages Beauty and the Beast is a wonderful children’s movie, its directed by: Gary Trousdale, and Kirk Wise, and produced by: Don Hahn. Disney is the main sponsor and gives the movie the best cast of artist and musicians. Who would except anything else from Disney, they are the best at children’s films. At the same time, Disney succeeds in teaching our children a very vital lesson in life, how good looks and fame is not the key to true love. Which is

Custom Essays: Claudius the Beast in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2238 words - 9 pages Claudius the Beast in Hamlet       Philip Burton in “Hamlet” discusses Claudius’ sudden rise to the Danish throne upon the death of King Hamlet I in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet:   The fact that Claudius has become king is not really surprising. Only late in the play does Hamlet complain that his uncle had "popped in between the election and my hopes." The country had been in a nervous state expecting an invasion by young

The Numerous Themes in Othello

1790 words - 7 pages The Numerous Themes in Othello        The Shakespearean tragedy Othello contains a number of themes; their relative importance and priority is debated by literary critics. In this essay let us examine the various themes and determine which are dominant and which subordinate.   A. C. Bradley, in his book of literary criticism, Shakespearean Tragedy, describes the theme of sexual jealousy in Othello:   But jealousy, and

Similar Essays

The "True Tragedy" Of "Othello" Essay

1435 words - 6 pages The Tragedy of Othello There are several essential elements that must be presented in a Shakespearean play in order to classify the piece as a true tragedy. Most importantly the tragedy must have a virtuous, noble protagonist who possesses a flaw, not a character defect, which will ultimately lead to his downfall or death. Another important detail is that the audience will have an emotional catharsis of pity and terror as the

Beauty And The Beauty In The Beast

952 words - 4 pages counts.In this paper I am going to take a look at two versions of Beauty and the Beast. Although The Lady and the Lion and Beauty and the Beast are very different, the base story is there. True beauty is determined by what is on the inside and not on the outside. In addition vanity and riches will not make you happy. Finally, to be truly beautiful you must treat people how you would want to be treated.Before I get into those versions of Beauty and

Gender Roles In Beauty And The Beast

610 words - 2 pages Gender roles in "Beauty and the Beast" Gender roles have been ingrained in our society all throughout history. In Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont's short story Beauty and the Beast, the author presents each character as a reflection of their own genders. Dominance and submission are two specific gender identities that have been assigned to men and women respectively. Beaumont tackles the difference between men and women's roles in

The Women In Othello Essay

1109 words - 4 pages Othello from the beginning all the way to her death, where she remains true to Othello, even knowing he murdered her. Undoubtedly a stronger character, Emilia has also accepted her role in society. At the end of the play while revealing Iago's plan she states 'Tis proper I obey him, but not now' (V.2.195). Although she has just betrayed Iago,she still feels the need to explains her reasoning for not obeying him. Bianca is also a victim of the role