The Tradgedy of Othello Essay

This essay has a total of 740 words and 4 pages.


The Tradgedy of Othello





The Tragedy of Othello

William Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, from the
sixteenth century is an excellent example of Renaissance humanism. “A poet of
unparalleled genius, Shakespeare emerged during the golden age of England under the rule
of Elizabeth I.”(Fiero 3:98) He produced comedies, tragedies, romances and
histories. According to Webster’s pocket dictionary, a tragedy is defined as a form
of drama in which the protagonist comes to a disaster, as through a flaw in character, and
in which the ending is usually marked by pity or sorrow. I would like to concentrate on
the character Iago and the theme of deceit.

We see humanism in all of Shakespeare’s characters. He does not judge or label them
but rather gave them each strengths, weaknesses, and flaws. “Shakespeare transforms
these figures into complex personalities, allowing them full freedom to falter and fail
through their own actions.”(3:100) The play consisted of human interaction
especially in the case of the character Iago, who is the personification of evil.
Shakespeare also introduced the hero, Othello, as a black man, which is not stereotypical
for that time. Each character makes their own decisions and has their own flaws, which is
very humanistic. Shakespeare’s use of tragedy shows, “…in a universe in
which order and disorder coexist, human choices play a vital and potentially destructive
part.”(3:100)

Shakespeare develops the character Iago into an instigator and evil man. Iago attempts
and succeeds to convince Othello that his wife has had an affair with his friend Cassio.
We see Iago beginning his plans at the very start of the play. “But I will wear my
heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at, I am not what I am.”(Oth 1:1:64-65) He
immediately tries to start trouble with Brabantio and Othello over the marriage to
Desdemona. Iago want to get in Othello’s way because he was passed over for general
and Cassio was chosen instead. We see from the start how he plots against Othello and he
involves several characters in his plans. “And what’s he then that says I
play the villain? When this advice is free. I give and honest, probal to thinking, and
indeed the course to win the Moor again? For tis easy Th’ inclining Desdemona to
subdue in any honest suit; she’s framed as fruitful…”(2:3:295-300).
Throughout the entire play, Shakespeare develops the character Iago as evil and willing to
do anything to get revenge on Othello. Another example is in a conversation when Iago
advises Cassio and says: “I protest, in the sincerity of love and honest
kindness.”(2:3:288-289). That was not the case because Iago was neither sincere nor
honest.
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