The Lost Identitiy Of Othello Essay

1136 words - 5 pages

The Lost Identitiy of Othello  

Othello's identity in the Venetian society is his role as "the Moor". Few people use his real name when talking about him. When speaking the given quote, Othello is telling the Venetians how he won Desdemona's heart by telling her the story of his life, and he now retells it to the Venetians. This tale-telling is a way of employing the linguistic system to reshape for himself a new identity with more positive connotations than "the Moor" can offer. "The Moor" is an expression the Venetians connect to other expressions in the linguistic system which all have a negative value. Examples are such expressions as "old black ram...

The above excerpt is provided as reference only.  The complete essay begins below.

When considering the identity of Othello, in Shakespeare's play Othello, it is beneficial to ponder the quote "I am not what I am.". Perhaps Othello finds his identity threatened by Desdemona's reaction to his tales. In order to understand this better, it is useful to note a quote from Pam Morris: Literature and Feminism, (Blackwell, 1993) where she discusses the resolution of the Oedipal crisis.

For Freud the outcome of the child's fear of castration is its submission to the reality principle and hence its entry into the social order. For Lacan this must coincide with the child's entry into the language system.....Language is thus the Law of the father; a linguistic system within which our social and gender identity is always already structured. (p. 104)

Othello's identity in the Venetian society is his role as "the Moor". Few people use his real name when talking about him. When speaking the given quote, Othello is telling the Venetians how he won Desdemona's heart by telling her the story of his life, and he now retells it to the Venetians. This tale-telling is a way of employing the linguistic system to reshape for himself a new identity with more positive connotations than "the Moor" can offer. "The Moor" is an expression the Venetians connect to other expressions in the linguistic system which all have a negative value. Examples are such expressions as "old black ram, a Barbary horse, lascivious, and a devil." The negative overtone of these words will reflect back on Othello. He can't change his origins but he can try to change the connotations of "the Moor". He can fill the expression with a new content and thereby give himself an identity he can be more comfortable with. This is what Othello is doing when he is retelling his history.

Othello is obviously a good narrator; Desdemona can't get enough of his story. Expressions like "seriously incline", "with haste" and "greedy ear" show Desdemona's eagerness for his storytelling. "And ever..../She'ld come again" shows that this has been happening over a period of time without Desdemona growing tired of his tales. The given quote implies that Othello feels he has been too clever for his own benefit. Desdemona's craving for his...

Find Another Essay On The Lost Identitiy of Othello

The Personality of Othello Essay

1026 words - 4 pages The Personality of Othello     Othello’s speech to Brabantio and the Duke in Act 1, Scene 3 is of major importance in describing Othello’s personality. This long speech, found in lines 149 to 196, shows Othello for the first time as a person with depth and less as a soldier. This speech is important to the book as a whole because it is a testimony to the strength of the love between Othello and Desdemona, which will later play a major role

The Imagery of Othello Essay

2586 words - 10 pages The Imagery of Othello Talks         In the tragedy Othello the Bard of Avon uses imagery to talk between the lines, to set moods, to create a more dramatic impact on the mind of the audience, and for other reasons. Let’s consider imagery in this essay.   A surprising, zoo-like variety of animal injury occur throughout the play. Kenneth Muir, in the Introduction to William Shakespeare: Othello,  explains the conversion of Othello

The Transformation of Othello

693 words - 3 pages TRANSFORMATION OF OTHELLOIn Shakespeare's play Othello the transformation of the main character Othello "the moor", both in terms of attitudes towards life and the state of mind he is in, is the main axis by which various types of other contrasts are worked up. In this play readers are ended up with a final where a respectful and strong general turned in to a weak person that is manipulated by the vicious plans of Iago, the "evil" character of

The Lost Boys of Sudan

866 words - 4 pages The Lost Boys of Sudan The lost boys of Sudan did not only show courage but also perseverance when they were forced to flee their home, leaving everything behind to find safety, after their village and all their loved ones were destroyed by the war. In 1983 the Second Sudanese Civil War took place; Arabic Muslims from the North of Sudan attacked southern villages killing more than one million civilians and leaving more than twenty thousand of

Raiders Of The Lost Art

594 words - 2 pages RAIDERS OF THE LOST ART There seems to be a major problem arising in Egypt and Great Britain. There have been hundreds of recorded art thefts in Egypt. Jonathon Tokeley- Parry is one of the assumed thieves. The thieves steal the art or artifacts to sell to people. Jonathon says that he sells them so they can be saved in people's homes not in poorly guarded museums. This type of problem has been occurring more and more. There are three main

The Two Sides of Othello

1314 words - 5 pages William Shakespeare introduces the title character of the play Othello as a man who is well respected by the citizens of Venice. Othello is an esteemed military man whose conquests have added to Venice’s glory. He has always lived in the public eye and been held in high regard. When he is confronted with the possibility of his new bride’s infidelity, Othello does not know how to confront and control these new emotions. Othello’s lack of

Othello, The Moor of Venice

1322 words - 5 pages Othello, the Moor of Venice is one of the major tragedies written by William Shakespeare that follows the main character, Othello through his trials and tribulations. Othello, the Moor of Venice is similar to William Shakespeare’s other tragedies and follows a set of specific rules of drama. The requirements include, following the definition of a tragedy, definition of tragic hero, containing a reversal of fortune, and a descent from happiness

The Evil Iago of Othello

610 words - 2 pages Iago is the poisoner and his job is to ruin lives to get what he wants by using his ironic words to destroy his victims. His evil disguised plan works on foolish Othello and Cassio, who foolishly trust Iago. Iago uses both Cassio and Othello to his advantage, noticing how trustworthy they are of him. Both Cassio and Othello make the mistake of calling Iago, honest Iago (II. Iii. 355), and when he hears this he knows that he controls Cassio

The "True Tragedy" of "Othello"

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

The Mystery of the Lost Colony

1248 words - 5 pages ." A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World. New York: Henry Holt and, 2008. Print. "HowStuffWorks "Roanoke Mystery"" HowStuffWorks "History" Web. 16 Feb. 2012. . "The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island: An Historical Mystery That Remains Unsolved after 400 Years | Suite101.com." John K. Davis | Suite101.com. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.

"Othello" by William Shakespere: Othello and the Wheel of Deceit

570 words - 2 pages In "Othello", a most captivating work, Shakespeare brilliantly spun a web of lies and treachery which every character quickly became entangled in. Each character played an important role in propelling the wheel of deceit into motion. This can be seen specifically through the actions of Desdemona, Iago, and Othello.Desdemona, the fair, virtuous, and gentle wife of Othello is often considered to be guiltless in the play, since she was murdered by

Similar Essays

The Character Of Othello Essay

990 words - 4 pages The Character of Othello As the play progresses, Othello’s character goes through many changes which happen as a result of him falling victim to Iago’s evil schemes. At first he is introduced as an army general who is respected for what he does but still discriminated against for being black. Othello is a victim to racism throughout the play. He is often referred to as “the Moor” even by his beloved Desdemona and is

The Pride Of Othello Essay

1034 words - 4 pages The Pride of Othello     In Shakespeare's Othello, Othello's pride prevents him from finding the truth, eventually leading to his demise. Initially, Othello and Desdemona are deeply in love, despite her father's disapproval of their marriage. However, when Othello promotes Cassio instead of Iago to Lieutenant, Iago has his revenge by convincing Othello that Desdemona cheats on him with Cassio, destroying the marriage

The Character Of Othello Essay

2162 words - 9 pages stranger--an other--even to himself. The final step in Othello’s character transformation and eventual movement into our solidified sympathy is his backward--which is actually progressive--inclination toward the recovery of what he had been. The recapturing of a lost faith and an attempt to right his own wrongs is what characterizes this stage in Othello’s development. Othello himself is aware that in his madness, he was not himself. When

The Reputation Of Othello Essay

1391 words - 6 pages shame, put on your gown! / Your heart is burst; you have lost half your soul.” Indeed, the disappearance of Desdemona from home would seem as such to an elderly father. Human wisdom is obvious again and again; for example, when the senator escorts the general to the council, the duke addresses the “valiant Othello” without even noticing the senator at first: “I did not see you. Welcome, gentle signior.” As Othello begins his address before council