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Male Motivation in Othello, the Play

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Introduction

An Investigation Into The Male Motivation In Othello The behavior and characteristics of the male protagonists carries more significance to the details, plot and language of the play than any other characters, male or female. It is the issues of masculinity and the connotations that come with masculinity that form the basis of this play. Without Shakespeare's male characters portraying some kind of behavior that is a result of strong and false masculinity. For example it could be said that Iago's hatred of Othello lies in the truth that Othello is a stronger, younger and more powerful man than he is. Also I will explain why the actions of Othello, Iago and Brabantio are all, to some extent controlled or influenced by their masculinity and their male tendencies. Of course these assertions are not unfounded. Shakespeare projects these issues quite clearly through language and representative behavior meaning for example when Othello suffers a seizure represents his physical and physiological inability to cope with the so called `proof` provided by Iago that Desdemona is unfaithful to him. The relatively established issues about the differences in the male and female actions are of course somewhat dictated by the distinct lack of communication between the two male and female protagonists. ...read more.

Middle

This way of thinking is what results in the violent cruel death of Desdemona which Othello sees as a fitting corporal punishment that she be killed. An aspect that affects every other of the play is its setting. The majority of the play is set in a male dominated military environment base on pride, dignity, trust and violence. It is important to remember that in such a male environment as the confined barracks of Cyprus, Iago cannot possibly escape from the goading reminders that feed his jealousy. He is in the presence of Othello the great general who he loathes for passing Iago up for promotion and has slept with his wife. In such a soldiers life protecting ones honour to protect ones self-respect is Iago's only motive. This is what results in the revenge itself. The difference between Othello and Iago is the he finds subtle outlets to confess his rage to Othello which provides him all the more relief and satisfaction as Othello does not realize what Iago is indicating. For example Iago proclaims that his he considers his sole worthless suggesting that he is among other things not to be trusted refers to trust as "foolish honesty". ...read more.

Conclusion

He then goes on in act 4 scene 1 asks Othello whether he should announce him as "...all in the spleen and nothing of a man" subtly implying that he is a savage who relies on his brutish bestial instinct and uncontrollable compulsive aggression. Of course this is exactly what Iago dislike over him. The irony is of course is that in performing these subversive malicious acts against the moor he himself is becoming what he sees in Othello and is overtaken by the "green eyed monster". The distinguishing factor between the male and female is that the environment of the play is an extremely male one where honour and self indulgent respect is prevalent. These would not traits thought to be possessed by woman, especially in to a Jacobean audience of the time. Woman would have nothing to feel protective and possessive over, especially of something like honour or male masculinity. Emilia and Desdemona ironically have one main objective as the Jacobean audience would have seen it and that is foe the female characters to please their husbands however unknowingly they become the whoa in Othello's and Iago's lives. It simply is woman and every connotation that can come with the characters in this Shakespearian tragedy acts as the object around which all of Iago's, Othello's and even Cassio's willing want, anger and ambition are for. ...read more.

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