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Shakespeare - Othello

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Introduction

Roderigo and Iago refer ambiguously to Othello as "he" or "him" for much of the first scene. When they begin to specify whom they are talking about, they do so with racial epithets, not names. These include "the Moor", "the thick-lips", "an old black ram", and "a Barbary horse". The play open with a scene in which Othello himself does not appear but instead we try to gain an initial impression through the comments of his people. This is an important aspect because by not making Othello himself appear we are shown the forces which will be employed against him, there is a created atmosphere of suspense and apprehension, which prepares the audience for his appearance later. ...read more.

Middle

As a result, our first view of Othello is of a calm man who is in complete control of himself nor does he seem to be the "lascivious Moor" that Iago described in the previous scene. Every Shakespearean hero has a tragic flaw, which is brought about by circumstance. Othello's fatal flaw is his jealousy, which is intensified by Iago's evil and deceitfulness. Iago manages to turn a man who loves his wife dearly into a paranoid and cold-blooded murderer. However, it is vital for us, the reader, to see the extent of their opposite characteristics, to help us to redeem Othello's character at the end of the play, and to sympathise with him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare's tragic hero's dying words: "loved not wisely, but too well", reflects the downfall of the fated general Othello. From the beginning of the tragedy, Othello is portrayed as a poor judge of character, which is shown by his inability to distinguish fact from fiction, which fuels his insane jealousy. Othello's love for Desdemona once a harmless obsession soon becomes possessive and ultimately fatal. Othello's mental instability is due to all the consuming emotions, which took over his sense of reason and logic. He becomes outraged, consumed with anger and jealousy. He realises all too late that he did not have concrete evidence of Desdemona's guilt. The jealousy blinded him and restricted him from acknowledging the truth. His self-recognition redeems him somewhat at the close of the play, as he admits his wrong -doing. ...read more.

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