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To What Extent Is Othello Responsible For His Own Downfall?

1536 words - 6 pages

A tragedy is the story of an individual whose downfall is brought about by specific defects in his character, tragic flaws. The play, Othello, is a twisted tale of deceit and revenge. Iago creates an alternate world filled with lies, that unfortunately consumes the trusting and naive Othello. Othello's downfall comes about due to a combination of the influence of Iago and the fatal character flaws of the otherwise virtuous Othello.Iago absolutely hates Othello. He is angry with Othello for promoting Michael Cassio, an officer with no real battle experience, to lieutenant over him. Once Iago comes up with a plan for revenge it does not take very long for him to set it into motion. Iago's plan is to cause Michael Cassio to fall out of Othello's good graces. Once Cassio has lost his position as lieutenant Iago knows that Cassio will do anything to get it back, so he advises Cassio to get Othello's wife, Desdemona, to speak on his behalf to Othello. Iago tells Cassio, "Our generals wife is now the general... Confess yourself freely to her. Importune her to help to put you in your place again." Iago has begun his plan to poison Othello's brain.Once Desdemona begins defending Cassio to Othello, Iago begins to make Othello think that there is something odd in the situation and that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Iago does this because he knows that Desdemona is one of Othello's only weak spots. Othello trusted Desdemona implicitly "my life upon her faith"- showing the audience the extent to which her faithfulness rules his life and his trust. Iago knew Othello loved her so much he would do anything for her, and if he could destroy that love in some way his plan would work. Iago is deliberately plotting for Othello's downfall.Othello failed to recognize the strength of this love when Iago started to put the negative thoughts of infidelity into his head. He started to believe Iago right away, and he seemed to forget how much Desdemona had already proved her love for him. Desdemona had previously stated "I do perceive here a divided duty...but here is my husband....so much I challenge that I may profess Due to the Moor my lord", Desdemona shows her loyalty to Othello. However it was Othello's insecurity that caused his downfall. If he had not been so insecure then he would have been able to dismiss Iago's words, and he would have been able to say to himself that our love is so strong and pure that she would never be able to hurt me this way. Thus we are introduced to one of Othello's fatal flaws, his insecurity.Another of Othello's tragic flaws, which contribute to his downfall, is his open and trusting nature. Iago knows of Othello's fault and states "The Moor is of a free and open nature/ That thinks men honest that seem to be so/And will as tenderly be led by the nose/As asses are." Othello is a professional soldier and preaches by the rules and codes of honour thoroughly. He believes that people are honest and genuine...

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