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

'Iago's deception of his victims sets off the events that lead up to the tragedy yet ultimately it is Othello who is responsible for his own downfall.' Discuss

Extracts from this document...


'Iago's deception of his victims sets off the events that lead up to the tragedy yet ultimately it is Othello who is responsible for his own downfall.' Discuss 'Oh, beware my lord of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on'. In the Shakespearean play 'Othello', it is clear from the outset when Iago first pours forth his grievances and ambitions for destruction to the audience that he will be the instigator of the tragedy that will inevitably occur, Yet, although Iago plants a seed of doubt in Othello's mind, it is to a certain extent Othello himself and his weakness that germinates this seed, intense jealousy being the final ingredient to allow it to bloom. While Iago is the undisputed instigator of this tragedy he is guilty of much more. Yes, he struck a match and lit the fire yet he continues to add fuel. In the first scene of the play Shakespeare highlights Iago as not an obvious villain but a devious one, through Iago's statement 'I am not what I am'. ...read more.


Iago exploits one of the most common human weaknesses to instigate this tragic tale - jealousy. However, whether Iago's milking of this weakness in Othello is to blame for the resulting tragedy, or Othello for having it, is a matter of personal opinion. In one of Iago's soliloquies Shakespeare displays Iago as a man consumed by jealousy. Shakespeare demonstrates the depth of emotion with Iago's description of jealousy 'like a poisonous mineral, gnawing my inwards'. Othello's lack of self-knowledge allows for Iago's infection of Othello with this intense emotion. Othello thinks of himself as a level-headed, logical man, 'a man not easily jealous'. He has always been a competent soldier whose indispensable skills are highlighted by the fact 'another of his fathom they have none to lead their business'. Yet Shakespeare makes clear that whilst Othello is a competent soldier he is far from a competent lover as he was simply a man 'that loved not wisely but too well'. Othello represents how jealousy can be one of the most corrupting and destructive emotions. ...read more.


Iago skilfully manipulates the love between Desdemona and Othello that caused her to defy society's norms and elope, by recalling situations in the past when Desdemona was deceiving. Desdemona's quest to compliment Cassio to Othello 'for the love I bear to Cassio' is done with all good intentions however gradually misconstrued and Othello knows Desdemona has deceived in the past such as with her father and through Othello's courtship 'she seemed to shake, and fear your (Othello's) looks when she loved them the most'. These examples typify how many of Desdemona's fine qualities, when exploited, could be mistaken as deceiving. Thus one can see how, whilst Desdemona was a victim, her virtues allowed her to play an inadvertent role of this tragedy. The core of the tragedy in Othello is similar to a complex quilt, each character a fine piece of thread and Iago the seamstress - sewing it all together with a needle of Othello's destructive emotions and lack of self-knowledge. Therefore, who or what is it that ultimately lies at the root of the whole tragedy? This is a matter of personal opinion and one that will be debated by Shakespearean scholars for centuries to come. ...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. Who is responsible for Othello's downfall?

    He argued that Othello is responsible for his own downfall, and that Iago is merely a subordinate character and not the main reason for the tragedy. This view is certainly worth considering as T.S. Eliot also criticises Othello, accusing him of 'self-dramatisation, a terrible exposure of human weakness'.

  2. Who is to blame for the tragedy of Othello?

    Another person that purposely deceives people and adds to the lies is Emilia; she knows exactly what she's doing and yet continues to lie to her friends. First of all, she steals the hankie from Desdemona when she drops it and then hands it over to Iago even though she

  1. 'Othello': A Tragedy of Deception or a Tragedy of Self-deception? Depicting the downfall ...

    the central protagonist for the first time in Act One Scene Two, the audience ironically harbour a positive image of Othello before seeing him on stage, due to their inclination to dislike Iago, and therefore believe his opinion of Othello to be ill-founded.

  2. Should we blame Iago for all the events that occur in the play?

    Examples of inconsistency in the time structure in the text which are invisible to the audience during the performance; Act 2, scene 3- Roderigo's "money is almost spent"- yet this is only his first day in Cyprus. Act, scene 3- Emilia steals Desdemona's handkerchief because Iago "hath a hundred times

  1. Othello: Did Othello(TM)s Nobility Lead Unto His Own Demise?

    "I hate him as I do hells pains", he admits. Iago acknowledges that Othello is dignified, and his marriage with Desdemona will be fruitful, but save for the fact that he is righteous, he still resents him. "Twixt my sheets...

  2. To what extent do you consider the character Othello to be responsible for his ...

    These are revenge, ambition and De Casibus. Revenge obviously is a motive for tragedy and we can see this with Iago's behavior after not getting the job of Leiutenant and decides to plot against Othello. De Casibus is the main cause of tragedy in Othello. It means a fall from greatness which is evident at the beginning

  1. To What Extent Can It Be Argued That Othello’s Downfall Is the Result of ...

    This shows that he is a successful general, capable of being the head of the army and not a flawed character. A further positive trait that Othello has is his love for Desdemona, which also contradicts what Iago said about Othello being lustful.

  2. hakespeares tragic heros dying words: loved not wisely, but too well, reflects the downfall ...

    Moreover details of the: "Rough quarries, rocks and hills" show Desdemona was seduced by Othello's story telling ability. The personification of her: "greedy ear", reflects her eagerness to hear Othello speak of his adventures. Desdemona finds Othello's individuality appealing: "heaven had made her such a man".

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