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Othello. There is a convincing case for saying that Othello is noble, and little more than the tragic victim of a devilish Iago.

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Othello Othello is a puzzling character, who in the first half of the play is alleged as a noble, wise leader, and whose style of dealing with Brabantio's insults is an example for all men, yet who becomes in the second half a ruthless murderer. While it is difficult to argue that Othello is noble in Acts IV-V, it is also hard to say that he has brought the dreadful ending upon himself, because clearly Iago must take much of the credit for Othello's change. The Moor, perhaps, should be seen as a multifaceted being, who himself cannot decide who he is or what he stands for. There is a convincing case for saying that Othello is noble, and little more than the tragic victim of a devilish Iago. He is perceived by all in Venice as a man of great wisdom and sound judgement, and is entrusted by the Duke with the important mission against the Turks. Towards the end of the play, the Venetian envoy, Lodovico, can hardly believe that a man with a reputation such as Othello has can strike his wife: "Is this the noble Moor who our full senate Call all in all sufficient? ...read more.


After such mastery on the part of Iago, it is quite understandable that Othello should be convinced of his wife's guilt, despite her protestations of innocence - after all, what rational cause does Iago have to "hate the Moor"? Besides, Desdemona's protestations are self-defeating because of her clumsy use of language - "what ignorant sin have I committed!", she exclaims, unaware that 'committed' carries adulterous connotations: he sees in her replies a caustic sarcasm and relish, that reinforce his conviction of her guilt. However, she could not possibly have committed adultery within the timing of the play. By the end of the play Iago's cunning has transformed a noble man into a pitiless, emotional wreck, of whom Desdemona can truly say: "My lord is not my lord." It is wrong however to view Othello as a victim. From the very beginning of the play the audience is presented with an insecure and proud man for which characteristics Iago instinctively hates him, though he is unable to put his feelings into words. It is by having these vices brought to the surface by Iago that Othello falls. It is Othello's insecurity about his race and his age - "Haply, for I am black.../ Or for I am declined / Into the vale of years" - that brings about a violent and unfounded jealousy in him concerning Desdemona. ...read more.


From the beginning of the play, Othello is proud of having a beautiful wife, and his noble, confident arrogance recurs throughout: "Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it / Without a prompter," he tells Brabantio; "She wished / That heaven had made her such a man," he says of Desdemona's admiration for him; "Zounds, if I once stir, / Or do but lift this arm, the best of you / shall sink in my rebuke," he says at the scene of the brawl. Once made aware of his wife's unfaithfulness, he perceives himself as a tragic hero fighting against the whole world. The murder of Desdemona, and his suicide, are to his mind the end to a life of importance. Othello, in truth, is a intricate human being, a mix of nobility as well as savage. The imagination that gives him the potential for greatness also lead him into egoism. The malice of Iago undoes him, but only because of the weaknesses already there in his character. Othello himself is confused by who he is. At heart, though, he is a good man, and in the final stage is prepared to recognise his fateful error. Othello, though not perfect, is noble, and his behaviour is the action "Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought, / Perplexed in the extreme." ...read more.

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