William Shakespeare's "Othello" Is More Than Just A Tragedy. Discuss.

1032 words - 4 pages

William Shakespeare's Othello is more than just a tragedy. A tragedy is a play characterized by the treatment of misfortunes or death of the main characters. Tragedies result in great loss and misfortune. Shakespeare portrays the themes of jealousy, reputation and honour, and love but it is through tragedy that Shakespeare explores these themes. Othello encapsulates the actions and consequences of tragic circumstances and exemplifies what Shakespearean tragedy is all about.The character Othello is initially introduced as exotic, eloquent and powerful. He loves his wife Desdemona and is greatly respected by others. Despite his overall demeanour, it is only the one solitary idea, planted by Iago that causes Othello to journey into a world of deceit and betrayal.Jealousy is the catalyst for Othello's destruction. Iago himself, the man responsible for causing Othello's jealousy warned him about it; "O beware jealousy, It is the green eyed monster which doth mock." Jealousy focuses Othello's mind on one idea, the idea that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio. This obsession clouds Othello's reason and his common sense. It is now until the death of Desdemona that Othello recovers from his madness and can see his life in proportion again. He speaks calmly and rationally and when he comes to the full realisation of what he has done, he kills himself. Jealousy is also shown in the character Iago. It is jealousy of Othello's position, both romantically and professionally that leads to Iago manipulating Othello's fears. Jealousy is also portrayed in Bianca in her feelings towards Cassio. She becomes incredibly jealous when she too, believes that he is sleeping with another woman.The theme of jealous is portrayed through plot device of the handkerchief. Othello views the handkerchief as a symbol of Desdemona's faith and love. To him, her giving the handkerchief away is the same as her giving away her love for him. "To lose't or give't away were such perdition, as nothing else could match." The scene where Othello demands Desdemona show him the handkerchief portrays his demise into insanity. It is through the handkerchief that Othello is lead to believe that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio. It is also through Emilia's revealing that Desdemona never gave away that handkerchief that Othello realises that Desdemona was innocent. It is these tragic occurrences that jealousy is explored.In Othello, the theme of love is important to all characters. Othello is initially in love with his wife. The marriage of Othello and Desdemona was based on passion and lust and the building of love and trust was occurring in their relationship. It is however through Iago's manipulation that Othello begins to doubt his love. When Othello regains power over his decisions, after he kills Desdemona, that he realises that he still truly does love Desdemona; "Speak of me as I am… Of one that loved not wisely but too well. Love in friendship is shown between Desdemona...

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