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How far does Othello’s vulnerability to Iago’s suggestions diminish his stature as a noble figure?

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Introduction

How far does Othello's vulnerability to Iago's suggestions diminish his stature as a noble figure? The intense vulnerability of Othello to Iago's suggestions throughout the play suggest a weakness in the character of Othello and this decreases his stature as a noble figure to some extent in Shakespeare's Othello. However, due to the 'noble nature' of Othello, and the villainous behaviour of Iago, the audience is able to retain their admiration for Othello and their sympathy for his tragic downfall at the end of the play, when he realises the full extent of his actions. In this recognition, we are able to maintain our regard for Othello, as it is made clear that Iago has deceived everybody, and not just Othello. Othello manages to retain the respect of the audience for a number of reasons, one of which is the 'Othello Music', the serene and lyrical quality to his verse, named by the critic G. Wilson Knight. Othello's unfaltering control of syntax and his use beautiful, natural imagery, even in tense situations, such as when Brabantio accused him of abusing the 'delicate youth' of Desdemona, with Othello requesting that he should put up his 'bright swords, for the dew will rust them', instantly draws the audience to the character. This 'music' becomes noticeably absent during the play when Othello is under the control of Iago, but returns at the end of the play, when he repents all that he has done. ...read more.

Middle

aware of the magnitude of his plans, and the disastrous effect that they will have on the other characters that we are able to see that it is not merely Othello that succumbs to the conspiracies of Iago, and this fact helps Othello to retain his nobility, as the true nature of Iago is kept hidden from the entire cast throughout the play, to the extent that even in the closing scene, Iago refuses to reveal his reasons for causing such trouble, telling the other character defiantly 'what you know, you know. From this time forth I never will speak a word.' The changes in Othello's demeanour under Iago's influence cause the audience to loose some of their respect for the noble nature of Othello. As the hero becomes increasingly irrational and quick-tempered after Iago has poured this 'pestilence into his ear', and convinced him of Desdemona's infidelity, it becomes increasingly difficult for the audience to recall the nobility and virtue of 'valiant Othello' that was displayed in the beginning of the play. Othello's language begins to reflect that of Iago's, and we can see his increasing use of bestial imagery, for instance his exclamation of 'Goats and monkeys!' after striking Desdemona. Through the shift in Othello's language, we can see the extent to which Iago is able to control Othello, and this leads to a slight reduction in pity towards Othello, as he is able to be manipulated to such an extent by one of his men. ...read more.

Conclusion

The language used by Othello when he realises Desdemona's innocence is both beautiful and tragic, as he mourns the fact that he 'threw a pearl away', and cut short an innocent life, and would not be able to join his bride in heaven due to the offence he has committed. The noble stature of Othello is also compounded by the fact that all of the characters were deceived by Iago, and as Roderigo realised the true nature of his friend just before his death, so the rest of the characters only realised Iago's scheming too late in the play. The fact that Othello was not the only character to be deceived by Iago throughout the course of the play shows that it was not due to an intense lack of comprehension on Othello's part, but because of the intense scheming and evil of Iago. Othello manages to retain his noble stature throughout the play, despite the fact that Iago is able to deceive him, for a number of reasons, including the cunning of Iago, the basic insecurities of Othello that come from the way he has been treated by the Venetians, and the fact that Othello was not the only character to be deceived by 'honest Iago'. Although Othello has 'Fallen in the practice of a damned slave', he retains his honour through the nobility of his actions and the beauty of his language. Louise Phillips U6 EYS ?? ?? ?? ?? How far does Othello's vulnerability to Iago's suggestions diminish his stature as a noble figure? 1 ...read more.

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