• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Importance of military in Othello

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Othello section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Othello essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the ways in which Iago destroys the relationship between Desdemona and Othello

    4 star(s)

    Yet despite him seemingly having been taken in by Iago's lies, Othello is still not absolutely convinced about Desdemona's unfaithfulness. It is possible that Othello finds it hard to comprehend that Desdemona is anything but true. For example he comments that "if she be false, O heaven mocks itself."

  2. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent is language central to the understanding of Othello and Macbeth

    4 star(s)

    The imagery of darkness is further enhanced as 'Macbeth does murder sleep' (II ii l.47) and loses his peace of mind. Night-time becomes torturous for Macbeth as he slowly appears to lose his sanity, such as when he sees Banquo's ghost.

  1. How far do we see different attitudes to love presented in Othello?

    Such an attitude to love is most evident as Othello's. To him, the process of wooing Desdemona is in fact a simple telling of "the story of my life" which consists of his adventures as a general (I,3). To see his courtship of Desdemona in this way immediately elevates his

  2. Coleridge states that Iago is a being next to the devil driven by motiveless ...

    skilful manipulative qualities to mislead, frustrate and anger Othello into considering corrupt conclusions. Act 3 Scene 3 is critical for Iago to display his manipulative and devilish traits, where it is essentially evidence to see the strength of Othello's tolerance and resistance against Iago's constant remarks.


    In addition, Othello's lack of experience of being in relationship helps to expose his jealousy. We can infer that when he tells his life story in Act 1 scene 3 as his romantic experiences are notably absent. When Emilia assumes that Othello might be jealous Desdemona undermines it by replying 'Who, he?

  2. Does othello represent the idea of a tragic hero

    But I do agree with the idea that it was not through fault of Othello that he was manipulated by Iago, I agree that it was Iago's immense will power that corrupted him. Peripeteia is the downfall of an important person from happiness and prosperity into misery and catastrophe.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work