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To what extent do you consider the character Othello to be responsible for his own downfall?

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Introduction

To what extent do you consider the character Othello to be responsible for his own downfall? 'Othello' is a Shakespearian play of tragedy illustrating the downfall of a high ranking army general. Othello, a noble Venetian moor, becomes jealous and insecure after a soldier of lower rank, Iago leads him to believe that his wife Desdemona is having an affair. Othello acts without thinking too many times and without knowing it lets Iago manipulate him creating a downfall within himself due to both Iago and his own flaws to the point where he murders his wife. After he realizes his mistake he kills himself and lays next to his wife's body. As the play opens we are immediately introduced to the hostility of Iago against Othello. Iago has been appointed as servant to Othello instead of the more prestigious position of Lieutenant which Iago would have preferred but was given to Michael Cassio. This leads Iago to feel betrayed by Othello. Consequently Iago makes plans for Othello and forshadows his plans to Roderigo his right hand man. "O sir, content you. I follow him to serve my turn upon him". Roderigo is a usual character by Shakespeare because he is an unsuspecting person that can help Iago but is also bribed tricked and manipulated towards the end of the play by him. ...read more.

Middle

both Desdemona, because he believes the handkerchief to be a symbol of their affair that Desdemona gave to Cassio, and of Cassio because seeing him take the ancient gift and then pass it on to another woman makes his anger and jealousy of Cassio grow. This is important for Iago because Othello showing anger and hatred to these characters means that he can continue with his plan and plot an unhappy, tragic ending to the play. Iago's spell leads Othello to speak with imagery,violence,visciousness, poison and animals. The audience can see a vivid change in all aspects of Othello' speech from the beginning of the play. "Her father lov'd me, oft invited me. Still questioned me the story of my life. From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes that I have passed. I ran it through even from my boyish days to very moment he bade me tell it". Here can see the contrast. Othello speaks slowly ,calmly ,subtly and eloquently he spoke of no dark imagery or thoughts just intriguing words strung together nicely. Analysing Othello's speech demonstrates that he has had a downfall but now we need to look at how. Tragedy is a human concept, as with the renaissance view, the tragic hero has a fatal flaw that leads to a dramatic downfall. This flaw relates to the fact that tragic heroes are dammed by what they do. ...read more.

Conclusion

This gives Othello even more doubt and just those harmless words have such a big effect on him and it leads him to other conclusions such as he does not like the sight due to Cassio's reputation of a ladies' man however the thought of Cassio as a 'ladies man' was also an untruth. At the beginning of Act 4, just as Iago's plan is beginning to escalate on Othello, we can see a typical example of Iago making something serious of nothing just by the high level of Othello's insecurity."Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean any harm? ". These are the words of Othello after Iago has introduced that Cassio kissed Desdemona. Othello jumps to something much more serious as he is paranoid of the situation and will believe anything that Iago tells him and elaborate on what Iago tells him simply because he has very little faith in his wife and no critical knowledge due to the situation. Othello has been led on by Iago but almost every step of his manipulation has been to a flaw in himself, opening opportunities for Iago and investing too much trust into him. Shakespeare uses both Othellos responsibility and Iagos Machiavellian character cleverly to create the downfall of Othello. Arguably Iago is the main reason for the downfall as he planned it and made it happen, but Othellos actions and personality and responsibility towards the situation enabled Iago to complete his plan, and thus, there was a tragic ending with the deaths to both Othello and Desdemona. ...read more.

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