Othello Essay

Submitted By lanierlangdale
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Pages: 4

AP Literature and Composition
Lanier Langdale
Essay IV: Othello
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Othello is a tragic hero who falls through free moral choice when he is honestly deceived by Iago, a man who is outwardly good and inwardly bad. Othello is convinced to see marriage and women from Iago point of view, and Othello’s background and true love for Desdemona work against him, bringing his downfall. Othello is first introduced in the novel using specific diction. He is called “the moor” and “the thick-lips”, immediately making him an outsider to society (I.i.57 and 66). Othello is known to have a barbaric background but has been learning to fit into the high-class lifestyle. “Haply for I am black, And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have; or for I am declined Into the vale of years—yet that’s not much— She’s gone. I am abused, and my relief Must be to loathe her. O curse of marriage, That we can call these delicate creatures ours And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad And live upon the vapor of a dungeon Than keep a corner in the thing I love For others’ uses. Yet ’tis the plague of great ones; Prerogatived are they less than the base. ’Tis destiny unshunnable, like death.” (III.iii.267–279). Throughout the tragedy, Shakespeare presents several points of view on marriage and commitment; Othello’s remains consistent with Desdemona, who is also high-class, but the violence of Othello’s response to cheating is most likely due to barbarism. “O curse of marriage, That we can call these delicate creatures ours, And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad, And live upon the vapour of a dungeon, Than keep a corner in the thing I love For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones; Prerogatived are they less than the base; 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death: Even then this forked plague is fated to us
When we do quicken.” (III.iii.42). Othello’s extreme reaction is also due to his severe jealousy resulting from his true and deep love for Desdemona. “To say my wife is fair, feeds well, loves company, Is free of speech, sings, plays and dances well; Where virtue is, these are more virtuous: Nor from mine own weak merits will I draw The smallest fear or doubt of her revolt; For she had eyes, and chose me. No, Iago; I'll see before I doubt; when I doubt, prove; And on the proof, there is no more but this,—
Away at once with love or jealousy!” (III.iii.31). Othello’s characteristics make him a tragic hero; his own fatal flaws play a vital role in his downfall. Iago is the other key component in Othello’s downfall. Iago paints himself as an honest and caring man, deceiving not only Othello but also Cassio, Roderigo, and Emilia. Othello believes that Desdemona has been unfaithful, Cassio trusts Iago’s advice to regain his position with the help of Desdemona, Roderigo pays Iago to earn Desdemona’s heart for him, and Emilia mindlessly plays an important role in his master plan. “Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio; Wear your eye thus, not jealous nor secure: I would not have your free and noble nature, Out of self-bounty, be abused; look to't: I know our country disposition well; In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience
Is not to leave't undone, but keep't unknown.” (III.iii.17). Throughout the play, Iago schemes selfishly, every move carefully calculated to get his desired results. “Now will I question Cassio of Bianca, A huswife that by selling her desires Buys herself bread and clothes: it is a creature That dotes on Cassio; as 'tis the strumpet's plague To…