Video games have become modern-day Othello. Both are praised for their contributions to society, but both are also harassed based on the effects of other individuals. While both may take place in different time eras, 16th century for Othello 20-21st for video games, both share similarities in the eye of the public. In Shakespeare’s Othello, the main character, Othello, is a Moorish general in the Venetian army during the 16th century. However, because of the culture and the time of the play’s creation, Othello was praised for his military prowess but belittled for his race.
As a result, Othello is shown as a high member of society that ultimately fails to escape the nature of a stereotypical Moor. Similarly, because of supposed links between violent video games and violent crimes, video games in today’s American society are both praised for their medicinal benefits and condemned for their possible link to violence in those who play violent video games. Because of this, gamers are often criticized for the controversial games released. The strong-willed general, unflinching from danger, cool under fire and the pride of the Venetian duke: Othello the Moorish General.
During the 16th century, Venice hired mercenaries and used the military to maintain order in the city. Because of this, the mighty Othello was promoted to general and was praised for his duty. Time and time again (through Act 1 and some of Act 2) Othello has proved himself to have the skills of a military leader and strayed from the stereotypes of Moors. In Act I, Scene ii, Othello hears that Brabantio is coming for him. Instead of running or hiding as lago suggests, Othello claims he must be found. Even going so far to claim “Let him do his spite:/My services… hall out-tongue his complaints. ”
In this scene, Othello is showing his cunning and resourcefulness by planning to lure Brabantio to the duke and using his position as general to persuade the duke in his favor. This plan would not have been able to go through if Othello could not convince Brabantio, however. When Brabantio arrived, he tried to take away Othello, but Othello countered, asking “What if I do obey? How may the Duke be satisfied, Whose messengers are here about my side,… To bring me to him? ” Brabantio loved the idea “Mine’s not an idle cause, the duke himself,/… Cannot but feel this wrong as ’twere [his] own. ” Othello, the silver-tongued fellow. Othello managed to escape what could’ve been his death by slyly luring Brabantio into speaking with the duke when Othello would have the duke’s favor. This firm grip on persuasion would serve Othello well in keeping the peace in Venice. However, persuasion could not be done if the speaker could not remain calm.
In Act II Scene IV, lago recounts that “I have seen the cannon,/ When it hath blown his ranks into the air,/And… puff’d his own brother:- and can he be angry? This quote would mean that Othello would not show fear when being attacked and his men killed; furthermore, lago also noted that Othello did not just remained fearless, he remained calm. Even though his brother was just killed, Othello showed no rage. This calm under fire and ability to keep emotions under control is essential for generals to make wise decisions in the battlefield. Throughout Act 1 and some of 2, Othello has proved himself to be a strong leader and unlike a stereotypical Moor that Shakespeare’s audience would likely have expected. Indeed, Othello was an exception.
That is of course, until lago was done with him. How the mighty have fallen. Throughout the rest of the play, Othello becomes a stereotypical Moor: lacking reason, jealous, and violent. In Act II, Scene III, Othello signs that he isn’t as levelheaded as lago has said: “My blood begins, my safer guides to rule. ” In this scene, Othello begins to slip away from reason and give in to anger, something the Shakespearean audience would have expected from a Moor.
Similarly, in Act II, Scene III, Othello shows that he lost his reason as he becomes rapidly jealous and utraged: “Handkerchief, confessions, handkerchief! To confess, and be hanged for his labour;first, to be hanged, and then to confess. ” At this point in the play, Shakespeare’s audience are having their prejudice reinforced against Moors as they witness Othello’s descent to jealousy. In the same scene, Othello shows how violent he is becoming when he shouts “Get me some poison, lago; this night… this night, lago. ” This quote shows the audience that Othello is no longer any different from the stereotypical savage Moor the audience is familiar with.
The overarching theme of jealousy can be found in most of Othello’s lines and what is implied by those lines after Act II. One of Othello’s most direct quote to show his jealousy is in Act V, scene II when he accuses Desdemona, claiming “By heaven, 1 saw my handkerchief [in Cassio’s] hand. ” Othello used the handkerchief as a symbol of love for Desdemona, but when Cassio obtained the handkerchief after lago planted it, Othello took it as meaning Desdemona no longer loved Othello but loves Cassio instead.
This handkerchief threw Othello into jealousy and drove him to become a stereotypical Moor that Shakespeare’s audience belittled. Othello’s contrasting image under the prejudiced eye of society meant that his fall into jealousy was dramatic and tragic. The people of Venice would not know whether the jealousy-fueled Moor or the fearless military leader was the real person named Othello. The actions of Othello would be used against him by those with prejudiced minds; conversely, Othello’s manipulation would be used to defend him from his actions by those seeking the truth.
Ah the tragic Othello, woe is he! His tragedy hath been reincarnated in a similar modern day issue: the controversy of video games. The Moor, who was praised for his military prowess yet looked down upon for his skin color, and video games, who are praised for their medicinal benefits but slandered for supposed links to increased aggression, a pair who, under the eye of society, are “cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. ” Video games: bringing people closer and enhancing our abilities since 1971.
While many parents say video games are bad and they rot your brain, studies have shown otherwise. The American Psychologist released a study that claimed shooter games can “improve a player’s capacity to think about objects in three dimensions just as well as academic courses designed to enhance these same skills. ” This would mean that instead of rotting your brain, video games are expanding the youth’s mind with certain skills.
This is shown further when the same study said playing “Angry Birds” can “improve players’ moods, promote relaxation and ward off anxiety. This result could be used to treat those burdened with stress to relax and feel calm simply by playing video games. The study also said video games can “[teach] resilience in the face of failure. ” I am currently playing through Dark Souls II, a game infamous for its difficulty. At the start of the game, there is a monument that counts every death in the game: over 9 million and counting. Personally, I have added a little over 20 deaths from a single boss alone. If Dark Souls has taught me anything, it’s that charging into challenges can be fun.
Even though I keep dying over and over, I don’t quit. Those who say video games turn your brain to mush, can tell me that when I dodge swipes with my enhanced reflexes and relax as I encounter infuriating scenarios. Video games have great benefits ranging from stress relieving to teaching problem solving skills. However, videogames have been made infamous from school shootings and reports have shown that videogames can put players at risk of committing violent crimes. Just as there have been studies showing the benefits of video games, there has been studies highlighting the bad.
Another report released later in the year by the APA reported “a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior … and decreases in … empathy and sensitivity to aggression. ” This shows that video games dull the player from the consequences of violence and could result in drastic psychological problems in later life. Additionally, the study also found that, “a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect. This shows that those who play violent video games can become violent themselves, so players of violent video games could ultimately hurt other because of the games they played.
However, while not everyone agrees on the type of violence, even Dr Mark Coulson, a associate professor of psychology at Middlesex University that defends video games, admits that “|| fully acknowledge that exposure to repeated violence may have short-term effects – you would be a fool to deny that. This shows that even those who claim video games don’t cause violent crimes cannot deny that exposure to violent video games do have violent effects on those who play them, even if they are short-term. These two are victims and heroes under the eye of society. Othello, the graceful general, and video games, the healing tonic, both have their benefits for society. Conversely, there is also Othello, the Moorish murderer, and video games, the fuel for mass shootings, both are a plague on society. As a result of these opposing views, there is a similar dichotomy in Shakespeare’s Othello and modern day video games.