Othello is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, and it is also one of the most heartbreaking. Othello is a story of good and evil, jealousy and betrayal. But above all, Othello is a story of love.
Othello is a Moorish general in the Venetian army. He is a brave and noble man, but he is also an outsider. Othello is in love with Desdemona, the daughter of a Venetian senator. But when Othello’s ensign, Iago, jealous of Othello’s success, starts to spread lies about him, Othello begins to doubt Desdemona’s love for him. And as Othello’s jealousy grows, so does his desire for revenge.
Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragedy of misunderstandings and misplaced trust. Othello is a good man who is destroyed by his own jealousy and insecurity. But even in his downfall, Othello remains a tragic hero. He is a man who has fought for his country, and who has loved deeply and truly. Othello may be damaged goods, but he is still a good man. And that is why we care about him, even as we watch him destroy himself.
In Shakespeare’s Othello, the reader has presented the classic conflict between good and evil that is often seen in works of literature. It is these forces of darkness that ultimately cause Othello to fall apart, a great Venetian moor known for his bravery and ability as a leader. Desdemona’s death is a result of Othello’s breakdown. Desdemona is an example of what nature has to offer.
She is Othello’s opposite in almost everyway. Where Othello is black, she is white; Othello is old, Desdemona young. The play opens with Iago, Othello’s ensign, revealing his evil plot to Roderigo. Iago has been passed over for promotion by Othello in favor of the moor’s young lieutenant, Cassio.
Iago hates Othello for this and plans to take revenge. Part of Iago’s scheme includes planting the seeds of doubt in Othello’s mind about his wife’s fidelity. Iago knows that Othello is heavily dependent upon Desdemona’s love and will not be able to bear the thought of her being unfaithful.
Othello, already feeling insecure about his age and race, falls victim to Iago’s devious plot. Othello becomes consumed with jealousy and eventually kills Desdemona. Othello’s tragic flaw is his insecurity and susceptibility to manipulation by others. He is unable to see through Iago’s lies and instead believes them as truth. Othello’s insecurities cause him to doubt Desdemona’s love for him which ultimately leads to his downfall.
In the end, Othello realizes the error of his ways and takes his own life. Othello’s death represents the victory of good over evil. Although Othello was consumed by evil, in the end, his good nature prevailed. He could not live with the knowledge that he had killed an innocent woman and so took his own life as punishment. Shakespeare’s Othello is a tragedy not only because of Othello’s fall from grace, but also because it is a story of the triumph of good over evil.
Good can be defined as forgiving, honest, unblemished, and unsuspecting. The evil in Othello is not supernatural or legendary in nature, but it is symbolized by Iago. Iago is devious, untrustworthy, self-serving, and scheming. He takes full advantage of his qualities by carefully laying plans for his own success while watching the downfall of others. It’s all about me for Iago. The triumph of evil over good at the end.
Othello, being an honest and good man, is the perfect candidate for Iago’s plan. Othello falls into Iago’s trap of believing that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful. Othello’s gullibility leads to his undoing as he becomes so consumed by anger and jealousy that he murders Desdemona. Evil always manages to triumph over good in Shakespeare’s plays and Othello is no different.
Othello starts off as a good man but eventually succumbs to the evil that Iago represents. In the end, Othello realizes what he has done and takes full responsibility for his actions. Othello accepts that he is now what he has become and there is no going back. He is now an evil man, consumed by jealousy and anger, who has murdered the woman he loves. Othello’s tragic story is a cautionary tale of how easily good can be turned to evil.
Iago exploits Othello’s flaws, particularly jealousy and his devotion to appearances, to triumph over his opposite in Desdemona. Iago’s plotting skills are evident from the start of the play when he leads Roderigo to inform Brabantio and Desdemona’s father about Othello and Desdemonda’s elopement. Iago accidentally continues his scheme successfully, fooling people while being rewarded himself. Except for Roderigo, no one is aware of Iago’a machinations.
Othello, who is innately good and believes the best in people, unfortunately puts his trust in Iago who takes advantage of Othello’s goodness. Othello’s love for Desdemona makes him vulnerable to Iago’s schemes. Othello is also bound by his military duty and honor which Iago uses against Othello. Othello’s tragic flaw is that he is too trusting, this allows Iago to control Othello by preying on his insecurities.
Othello shows his vulnerability when he asks Iago “By heaven, I could do nothing but weep dead things with them, tears from the depth of some divine despair rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, in looking on the happy autumn-fields, and thinking of the days that are no more” (Shakespeare 3.3.454-459).
Othello is consumed by his grief and love for Desdemona to the point where Iago can easily manipulate Othello. Othello’s trusting nature allows Iago to deceive Othello into believing that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Othello asks Iago “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; / It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock / The meat it feeds on”(3.3.165-167).
Othello knows that jealousy is destructive, but he is still consumed by it. Othello’s military duty and honor also blind him from seeing Iago’s true intentions. Othello says “I will withdraw, / Lest I be thought too familiar” (1.3.262-263) when Desdemona’s father Brabantio objects to their marriage. Othello follows the chain of command and respects authority which Iago uses against Othello.
Iago tells Othello that Cassio confessed his love for Desdemona to Iago, knowing that Othello would take action because of his military duty and honor. Othello is so caught up in his sense of duty that he doesn’t question Iago’s motives. Othello’s tragic flaw of being too trusting allows Iago to control Othello and eventually leads to Othello’s downfall.
The fact that Iago is viewed as trustworthy and honest by Othello himself makes him the ideal unsuspecting target for his schemes. The chance to harm Desdemona via Othello is one temptation that Iago cannot refuse. To create the impression that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio, Iago creates the perception that she’s being unfaithful. It is this jealousy and Othello’s naiveness that bring about Desdemona’s downfall; she was the play’s only genuinely good-hearted character.
While Othello is consumed by his jealousy, Iago is able to convince him that Desdemona has been unfaithful. Othello makes the decision to kill her, and in doing so, destroys any chance for happiness he may have had. Othello’s tragic flaw is his lack of judgement, which allows Iago to manipulate him. Othello is unable to see the evil within Iago, and this ultimately leads to his downfall.