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

Abnormal Psychology And Othello Essay

1147 words - 5 pages

To what extent is the science of abnormal psychology involved in the characterization in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello? This essay will answer that question.

Blanche Coles in Shakespeare’s Four Giants affirms the Bard’s commitment to abnormal psychology, and his employment of same in this play:

That Shakespeare was keenly interested in the study of the abnormal mind is commonly accepted among students. [. . .] The suggestion that Iago may have been intentionally drawn as a psychopathic personality is not new. [. . .] Even a casual scrutiny of a book on case histories of psychopathic patients will find Iago peeping out from many of its pages. Still more, Iago’s name will be found appearing occasionally in bold print in books on abnormal psychology.(89-90)

Evidence of the ancient’s psychopathic personality is seen early in the play. He manipulates the wealthy Roderigo into awakening the senator Brabantio (“Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight”); and then he utters very offensive smutty lines about a black ram and white ewe, which indicate the way his sick mind operates. He seems to be motivated by love of money which he has been receiving from Roderigo for some time (“thou, Iago, who hast had my purse / As if the strings were thine”). Iago himself says that he is motivated by revenge on the Moor (“I follow him to serve my turn upon him”) because of the promotion of Michael Cassio to the lieutenancy. But regardless of the question of motivation, it is a fact that Iago hasn’t a single true friend in the play; in his disordered personality he can only manipulate or use people; he is incapable of loving them. His manipulation of his general repeats time and again from the first meeting:

Nay, but he prated,
And spoke such scurvy and provoking terms
Against your honor
That with the little godliness I have
I did full hard forbear him. (1.2)

While he and Desdemona and Emilia are lounging about at the port in Cyprus awaiting the arrival of the Moor’s ship, Desdemona tries to analyze how his mind and feelings work, for he seems to be habitually critical of his wife. She concludes that he is a “slanderer” and that he is full of “old fond paradoxes to make fools laugh in th’ alehouse.”

His clever machinations cause grief for every character who has continued contact with him. He deceives Roderigo about the affections of Desdemona: “Desdemona is directly in love with him [Cassio].” He deceptively lures Cassio into drunkenness where he is vulnerable to taunts and thus loses his officership. He further lures him into Desdemona’s presence so that Othello can find him there and be more suspicious: “Was not that Cassio parted from my wife?” Iago misinforms Montano regarding Cassio (“And ‘tis great pity that the noble Moor / Should hazard such a place as his own second / With one of an ingraft infirmity.”) Iago uses Emilia to pass the kerchief, which  “so often you did bid me steal,” to him rather than to its...

Find Another Essay On Abnormal Psychology and Othello

This is a critical analysis paper that I wrote for an Abnormal Psychology class. It discusses the ineffectiveness and over-prescription of SSRIs such as Prozac

798 words - 3 pages The Ineffectiveness of ProzacWe live in an age of growing research and technology, and new medicines are coming out for every sort of problem and symptom. Each day scientists discover more about the body and its functions and among these discoveries and understandings is the expertise of serotonin and its functions within the human brain. The grasp of serotonin has brought about the development of SSRI’s, or selective serotonin reuptake

Othello Essay

644 words - 3 pages personal opinion to Coleridge, because I would say that I would have reacted the same as Othello in many ways. It was unfair to do to a man that what Iago did to Othello. And if Othello felt the way he did for Desdemona and Iago set him up to believe she was un loyal to him, then it wasn't an abnormal thing to react the way Othello did. I believe I would act the same as Othello in that situation. Although Othello was hurt, killing someone no matter how

The Psychoanalytic Perspective in Relation to Iago

942 words - 4 pages Cassio because he fees Cassio stole his position as lieutenant. Therefore, he wants Cassio out of the way and wants Othello to like Iago, himself. He also admits to loving Desdemona and maybe because of this wants Othello and Desdemona's marriage to bedoomed. Iago is also aware of Othello's downfalls and personal needs. Iago uses Othello's own psychology to manipulate him, and in response, Othello falls easily to Iago's suggestions. Because of

Tragic Flaws Of Othello

1078 words - 4 pages Jealousy and Gullibility: The Devastating Flaws of Othello “The tragic flaw is the most important part of the hero and the events that occur in the work is a reflection of that flaw.” – Aristotle The plot of William Shakespeare's Othello is a tale of love, jealousy, and betrayal; however, the characters, themes, and attitudes of the works are different, with Shakespeare's play being a more involved study of human nature and psychology

An Analysis of Iago’s Characterization in “Iago’s Art of War: The “Machiavellian Moment” in Othello” by Ken Jacobsen

904 words - 4 pages finely laid plans almost unravel when Othello becomes desperate, threatening Iago and nearly identifying him as the source of his torment. By discerning Othello’s psychological state, Iago is able to diffuse his anger towards him and divert it towards Desdemona in what Jacobsen calls, “a move consonant with rhetorical precept and Machiavellian psychology” (510). Also, he must diffuse Othello’s anger in order to prevent a direct confrontation with

Lack of Reason in Shakespeare's Othello

1287 words - 5 pages lieutenant he would have found out the truth point in another direction. Othello could lead, but he could not reason. Works Cited and Consulted Armstrong, Edward Allworthy. 1946. Shakespeare's imagination; a study of the psychology of association and inspiration. London: L. Drummond. Gardner, Helen. “The Noble Moor.” Othello Critical Essays. Ed. Susan Snyder. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1988 Shakespeare, William

How Does Iago Persuade Othello

954 words - 4 pages spends the whole time plotting, and conspiring with the audience, and in this scene you can actually pinpoint the line where he finally pushes Othello over the edge. Iago manages this in several ways, through imagery, ‘sewing the seed’ in Othello’s mind, and reverse psychology. However all of these ways boil down to one thing, Iago, throughout the play, plays on Othello’s own insecurities about race, and

The Psychoanalytic Perspective In Relation To William Shakespeare's "Othello" - Iago

1440 words - 6 pages There are a number of perspectives that a critic can use to interpret a work of literature. One perspective, the psychological approach, deals with interpreting the text by using what is known about psychology. Some critics will try and understand the writers while, "still other critics employ methods of Freudian psychoanalysis to understand not only the writers themselves such as Shakespeare but the literary characters they create" (DiYanni

Shakespeare's Use of Language to Show Othello's Changing State of Mind

2518 words - 10 pages scene Othello is seen thinking and talking about how disloyal she is. It also makes the tragedy at the end of the play more awful, as the audience knows she really is innocent. Iago then cunningly preys on the inquisitive nature of all humans, including Othello, to mould his mind to thinking the way he would like. He says unbeneficial things, dropping hints as to his feelings. "Ha! I like it not." Iago exclaims as soon

Othello - Shakespeare & Oliver Parker film version: traditional, post colonial and feminist intepretations

1250 words - 5 pages close-up of his face, confirming grave concern.Again, the audience feels jaded when watching this because Othello's concern and worry is caused by Iago, the man ironically comforting Othello at the same time executing his plan. We can easily see Iago 'play' Othello using reverse psychology where Othello assaults Iago into the water and Iago maintaining his composure says, "To be direct and honest is not safe...I'll love no friend, sith love

Essay Analysis of Shakespeare's Othello with links to Orson Welles' adaptation and Parker's 1995 version

1375 words - 6 pages The challenge in this unit has been to evaluate the play after considering what others think. How has your own view of Othello been augmented by other views?Discuss through close reference to Shakespeare's original text and at least two different ways of considering Othello.William Shakespeare's tragic play Othello explores the deterioration of Othello due to one tragic flaw - jealousy. The original text provides a thematic foundation

Similar Essays

Abnormal Psychology And Therapy Essay

1271 words - 5 pages Psychology is a huge science area with many variations on approach. Over many years Psychologists such as Freud, Skinner, Rogers and Watson, just to name a few, have contributed, providing us with invaluable tools to evaluate and treat mental illness, understand and treat phobias and indeed provide us with a window into the unconscious mind. 'Abnormal behavior' can be defined as behavior which is unusual, socially unacceptable, dangerous to

Othello: The Abnormal Behaviors And Happenings

1991 words - 8 pages Othello: the Abnormal Behaviors and Happenings         The audience finds in William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello a curious collection of abnormal behaviors and happenings. In this paper let us examine in detail the abnormalities.   In her book, Everybody’s Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack defends the Moor as one who is not necessarily the victim of a psychological deficiency, as some critics

Abnormal Psychology And Therapy Modalities Essay

1713 words - 7 pages In this paper I intend to explain the diagnostic and therapy I have considered right for my patient Justin. Justin was brought by his parents because they were worried about his school attendance and his irregular activities after school. Justin is a 16-year-old white male, who is considered to be a loner and a quiet boy. He is not interested in school work with the exception of his Mathematics and Physics classes. Justin is respectful with his

Abnormal Psychology: A 2100 Word Essay On Psychological Disorders And Dysfunctions, Atypical Behaviors, Psychological Testing And Behavioral Assesment

2096 words - 8 pages Abnormal PsychologyThe definition of "psychological disorder" is as follows: A psychological dysfunction within an individual that is associated with distress or impairment in functioning and a response that is not typical or culturally expected. There are three main components to this definition. They can be designated as a) psychological dysfunction, b) distress or impairment and c) atypical response.Psychological dysfunction is when you fail