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Importance of military in Othello

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Othello Military Values During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, global confrontation between Turk and Christian worried military theorists. Turks were renowned for their courage, skill and cruelty on the battlefield. European warfare was also passing through a transitional stage between feudal hosts of the Middle Ages and permanent professional rmies of modern times. Othello is a condottiere fighting by contract for Venetian Republic, reflecting what European warfare would become. Yet, his self-fashioned image of a romantic and chivalric hero defeating the infidel in order to win a fair damsel is remnant of a medieval idea. Thus, confusion behind the two constructs and thus in Othello himself is inevitable. Othello takes place in a military background almost exclusively, and this is important to the tragedy, as it affects Othello's understanding of love, the importance of honour and reputation to the male protagonists and furthermore enables the audience to perceive both the external conflict between the Turks and Venetians, but also the internal conflict in Othello. This dimension allows the pay to be defined as both a public and domestic tragedy. Othello's occupation as a soldier is essential to the tragedy as it demonstrates how a rather old man can be inexperienced and na�ve in matters of love. Throughout the play, Othello makes statements such as "Tis better to be much... ...read more.


Othello constructs himself as a romantic and chivalric knight, and a characteristic of this identity was winning a damsel of a higher social station. If this woman was to lose her status, Othello's self-fashioned status was also in jeopardy. Thus when Edmund Spenser's Red Crosse Knight discovers the fair Fidelia is really the foul whore Duessa, he is emasculated. When Othello becomes convinced that Desdemona is equally foul, his "occupation" is "gone". The chivalric ideal upon which he has built his military vocation is destroyed and his reputation gone, and thus he decides that it is just to destroy her. Iago also plays upon this ontological insecurity when he says "He that filches... makes me poor indeed", suggesting that wronging someone's name is the worst offence of all. A soldier's propensity to seek revenge is also crucial to the tragic plot. It is this that plays a large part in Othello's decision to kill Desdemona. This is due to vengeance being a principal element in a soldier's life, as many wars are fought on the basis of vengeance; a soldier learns to retaliate subsequent to being wronged, and thus Othello sees this as a natural medium of correcting Desdemona's apparent transgression, causing it to be somewhat explanatory of Othello's merciless killing of her, the woman he loves. ...read more.


This is also due to the close relationship the Ensign and General were intended to hold. This proclivity to have confidence in Iago mobilizes the tragic situation, as Othello disregards pleas from his innocent wife even on her deathbed. Lastly, global struggle between West and East, Venice and Turkey is dramatized in the final act in the psychological battle within Othello. His last speech is central, as when he kills himself, it is in the same manner as he once killed the Turk who had beaten the Venetian in Aleppo. Therefore, Othello is reasserting the myth of Venice as a rational and ordered place on the outside, but having a corrupt internal structure; his rational and virtuous self destroys the irrational and cruel Turk within. Through this suicide, he is also acknowledging that he is both Venetian and Turk. Thus, the play's domestic conflicts also dramatize the conflict between places and cultures, as the West felt itself to be in contact with the barbarous East. The precarious ness of a nation's identity is expressed through the tragedy of Othello. In conclusion, without the Othello being firmly founded on a military basis, the tragic plot could not be effectively mobilized. The milieu of the soldiers also allows the attitudes and relationships in the play to unfold, and also show how the desired characteristics of a soldier are in direct opposition to acting in a civilized and rational way in situations away from the battlefield. ...read more.

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