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Some critics have argued that Othello is weak and gullible for falling for Iago's tricks. How far do you agree with this view?

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Introduction

Some critics have argued that Othello is weak and gullible for falling for Iago's tricks. How far do you agree with this view? The character of Othello goes through many highly dramatic and clearly visible changes throughout the play. He was described as 'Valliant Othello' in the beginning of Act 2, but this is not a term that would be used to refer to Othello by Act 4. It is apparent to both the audience and Iago himself that his tricks to manipulate Othello's behaviour and attitude have been affective. Othello has been reduced to jealous, vengeful and passion- driven 'monster', who not only believes that Desdemona has been unfaithful, but now wishes for her to pay for these crimes with her life. Othello comments on occasions in the play how he is 'too much of joy', with Desdemona's love, and stability the only thing keeping him sane. These are omens for future devastating actions in which Iago tips these fiery emotions that Othello possesses, so easily from love on to hate. ...read more.

Middle

This is very ambiguous, and by Othello's reaction it is clear that he does not truly understand what Iago is implying, but the emphasis of honesty, and the possibility that somebody is being dishonest is reinforced in Othello's mind without his awareness. Not only this, but it also strengthens the idea in Othello's mind that if Iago is criticising men for being dishonest, then he himself must be truly honest to make such a remark. Othello is never divulged to the 'big picture' as he always appears to arrive too late to witness any of the events first hand. Therefore he is solely reliant on Iago's opinions and accounts of the situation that he, as he is conveniently always present when they occur. Othello's lack of judgement cannot be blamed for the conclusions that he arrives to, as he is constantly being fed corrupted and misleading information from Iago to alter his views. ...read more.

Conclusion

When talking to Othello he uses much harsh and brash words, to anger Othello: "how satisfied, my lord? Would you, the supervisor, grossly gape on? Behold her topped?" This imagery and language is the same tactics used when Iago poisoned Brabantio's mind of Desdemona and Othello's wedding. Therefore if Othello is to be criticised for having such a weak a gullible mind, as to fall for Iago trickery, then many of the other characters have also to be labelled with the same affliction. Othello's failure to discover Iago's trickery is not necessarily a weakness in his character, as many of the characters did. But this supposed weakness is clearly apparent because he himself even admits that he needs Desdemona to keep him sane: "perdition catches my soul" and so this, which was taken advantage of by Iago's clever and manipulative nature was exaggerated and magnified to create a fundamental floor in the character, which led to Othello's, Desdemona's and Emilia's downfall. Othello's weakness in judging character is therefore not under normal circumstances noticeable, but with the correct manipulation can become deadly. ...read more.

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