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

How do the different critical readings of the play inform our understanding of the key factors leading to Othello's death? What insights do the different interpretations provide into Shakespeare's potential motivation for writing the play?

Extracts from this document...


How do the different critical readings of the play inform our understanding of the key factors leading to Othello's death? What insights do the different interpretations provide into Shakespeare's potential motivation for writing the play? There are many different factors that contribute to Othello's death. These factors can teach us about Shakespeare's view of society, the renaissance and the concept of civilisation. Adopting different critical approaches to this issue can help us understand the complex reason's leading to Othello's untimely death. The feminist viewpoint could help us in our understanding of why Othello died. We learn that women are expected to be obedient when Brabantio asks Desdemona in front of the Duke 'Where most you owe obedience?' showing that she is expected to choose between her father and husband. This contributes to Othello's death because if she was disobedient she would have fled and given Othello time to calm down and then he would have seen sense and believed her. Women had subservient roles which we see when Desdemona replies to the earlier question and says that she is 'due to the moor my lord' and her reference to her husband as 'my lord' implies that she is inferior to Othello and in reference ...read more.


When Othello falls into a trance in Act 4 Scene 1 we see that Iago enjoys political or Machiavellian manipulation when we read in his soliloquy 'my med'cine works! Thus credulous fools are caught' showing that Iago takes pleasure in what he is doing and this contributes to Othello's death because it makes Iago feel better because he is destroying Othello. This is his aim and motivation. This critical viewpoint can explain the tragedy that befell Othello because if Iago had not got it into his head that he was wronged then he wouldn't have wanted revenge against him. Iago believed that he was the best fighter out there and could not understand why Othello picked Cassio against him; therefore he manipulated Othello so that he would believe that Desdemona was cheating on him and this caused Othello to go insane. Iago was also insecure which we learn in his aside while having a conversation with to Roderigo when he says ' if Cassio do remain, he hath a daily beauty in his life that makes him ugly' showing that he is comparing himself to Cassio which is why he brought Cassio into it and brought him down too. ...read more.


O, damn her!' showing that he was quick to believe that Desdemona was capable of cheating on him. From the Political viewpoint we see that if Iago had been promoted to second in command over Cassio then he wouldn't have wanted to seek revenge which we learn as he says to Roderigo at the start of the play, 'and I, whom his eyes had seen the proof at Rhodes, at Cyprus, and on other grounds' showing that he feels that he has been overlooked even though Othello has seen him fight many times and so he felt that it was his place to try and convince Othello that Desdemona was a cheat. From the New historical viewpoint if Cassio wasn't from Florence then Othello wouldn't have believed that he would sleep with his wife behind his back. In my opinion, Othello's death was his own fault. He chose to believe Iago over Desdemona. He chose not to confront Desdemona over the allegations. His complete and utter loss of composure and logic, which we see when he discovers the handkerchief is lost and says 'but if she lost it or made a gift of it, my father's eye should hold her loathed,' which shows that he has regressed to a belief in pagan charms. 2005 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Othello essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Iago is fascinating for his most terrible characteristic: his utter lack of convincing motivation ...

    4 star(s)

    to Iago in exchange for the vague but unfulfilled promises of success and love. The fact that Iago immediately paints himself as the villain also prepares us to be sympathetic to Othello despite Iago's descriptions of the Moor. Iago explains to Roderigo that he has no respect for Othello beyond

  2. Is Othello a 'noble hero' brought down by 'a devil of motiveless malignity' or ...

    In Act 1 Scene 3. Iago states that "She must change for youth: when she is sated with his body she will find the error of her choice". Act 1 Scene 3. Here he indicates that Desdemona isn't loyal because she made a wrong choice in an old black man, and when she is full of him she will move on to someone younger.

  1. How Is Othello Viewed By Others And How Does He View Himself

    that the character is not good enough for her, stating that she -'hath made a gross revolt'. For these reasons Roderigo falls prey to the manipulative Iago, becoming a pawn in his ever growing plot. Unlike Roderigo, Brabantio holds strong racist views about Othello without the influential voice of Iago,

  2. Iago's pure hatred for Othello

    This shows that Iago is two-faced and jealous of Othello and Desdemona's love. The repetition also emphasises an image in Brabantio's mind that there is nothing he can do to stop the event from happening. Iago says "black ram" as he speaks of Othello; the black ram is symbolic of the Devil.

  1. Iago In Othello - Critical Analysis.

    At the climactic ending of the play, Iago's plot is given away to Othello by his own wife, Emilia. Iago sees his wife as an obstacle and a nuisance so he kills her. He kills her not as much out of anger but for pragmatic reasons.

  2. In The Shakespeare Play 'Othello'

    Othello is then immediately drawn into what he said. "What dost thou say?" Othello appeals to Iago to tell him what he didn't like but Iago doesn't want to seem to upfront as this could blow his plot out of the window, he insinuates that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair "Cassio, my lord!

  1. "Iago is the essential element in Othello. Without him the play is nothing."

    For me, when looking back at such scenes as this, Iago's brilliance is demonstrated in the way the audience assumes his motives are far less calculated than they actually are. For instance, one would assume Iago manipulating Cassio in this way is to gain some sort of revenge for him being of higher rank than Iago.

  2. Emilia and Desdemona have different views of men and women. Write a critical essay ...

    Whilst married to Othello, she devotes herself to him and his needs. During the accusation of unfaithfulness, Desdemona begs the Moor for forgiveness: "Then Lord have mercy on me." She apologises for an act which she knows she has not committed.

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