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In the world of Shakespeare(TM)s play, is the greatest suffering reserved for those who take it upon themselves to become avengers?

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In the world of Shakespeare's play, is the greatest suffering reserved for those who take it upon themselves to become avengers? If vengeance as described by Merriam's Webster's dictionary is the punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offence then it could be rightly said that it is one of the major motives of the characters in the play Othello. However, the issue of whether it is the avengers who receive the greatest suffering is not exactly clear-cut. In the light of this argument, the characters of Iago, Othello, and Emilia, (those who seek revenge) will be discussed and the extent to which they receive the greatest suffering will be considered. The treacherous villain Iago justifies all his evil doings as a way of revenging all those who have either betrayed him or come as an obstacle against his ambitions. His prime victim was Othello whose marriage he does not only destroy, but whose life he indirectly takes. He aims at destroying Othello because he failed to make Iago his lieutenant but rather told him that 'I have already chosen my officer'. ...read more.


This could also be seen as a way by which Shakespeare shows that Iago's actions are highly unjustified because they stem from his jealousy. In terms of those who get the most suffering, it will be fair to say that Iago does not exactly receive any punishment above or even in proportion to that which he deserves. One of the last lines that he says still shows resistance and no sign of defeat. He says 'I bleed sir, but not killed'. This may show that Iago's punishment when he is taken away at the end of play is not assured. However, during Shakespeare's time, villains such as Iago were not tolerated but rather sentenced. Therefore, the readers are left to assume that such may have been the faith of Iago. Othello on the hand could be said to be a victim of Iago's desire to 'diet his revenge'. From the moment Iago deceives him, he takes it upon to himself to 'whistle Desdemona down, and let her down to prey at torture'. ...read more.


In this statement, she lists all the people who could either condemn or commend her for exposing Iago's evil plot. In this statement, Shakespeare reflects the Christian belief that men do lie between two extremes, which is heaven the highest order, and the devil (hell) which is the lowest. However, it may be unfair to assume that Emilia receives one of the greatest sufferings. This is because, she was prepared for the worse that will happen as far as she shows that Desdemona was 'heavenly true'. On the contrary, she could be said to be one of the most fulfilled characters in the play. It is no argument that all Shakespeare's tragedies all end up with the death or punishment of the tragic hero and the villain(s) in the play. However, the view that the greatest suffering is reserved for those who seek vengeance in my opinion is not justified. This may simply be the case because not all those who seek revenge are 'evil'. With the characters of Hamlet and Laertes in Hamlet, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, vengeance arguably comes with suffering. However, this view is opposed with likes of Calliban in THE TEMPEST, and Emilia in Othello. ...read more.

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