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

Do Characters in Othello Cause Their Own Misfortune?

Extracts from this document...


Aneesh Karir Othello Essay December 5th, 2011 ENG3UE-05 Mr. Vitzthum ________________ Do Characters in Othello Cause Their Own Misfortune? Othello, a tragic play written by William Shakespeare, is one that represents many characters who experience troubles and misfortune. There are, in fact, some characters in Othello who cause their own misfortune, due to a flaw in their personality. Othello?s love and jealousy blurs his judgement, in addition to his excessive pride. Roderigo is foolish and credulous, which leads to his demise. Iago, the most evil villain in the play, causes his own misfortune when all of his iniquitous plans backfire, and everyone is aware that he is, in fact, the villain. Othello, the protagonist of Othello, overlooks many events and characteristic qualities throughout the play, due to his fallible judgement. These false judgements are caused by his hamartia, which is comprised of his pride and his extreme jealousy. When he marries Desdemona, he loves her so much that a great jealousy encompasses him at the slightest hint of a man, such as Cassio, even talking to her. When Iago is talking to Othello, ?O, beware, my lord, of jealousy./It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock/ the meat it feeds on,? (III.iii.179-180) Iago plants a seed of mistrust and jealousy in Othello for Desdemona. ...read more.


When Roderigo says ?I will incontinently drown myself? (I.iii.308) it reveals his personality and how he is not very independent or determined. It shows how he will try to kill himself because he loves Desdemona deeply. Roderigo?s lack of self-reliance proves to be the flaw in his character; it is the cause of his misfortune later on in the play, because he is constantly seeking advice and help from Iago, a keen manipulator. ?Do you find some occasion to/anger Cassio, either by speaking too loud, or tainting/his discipline, or from what other course you please,[?] Roderigo: Well.? (II.i.269-273) When Roderigo has just learnt that Desdemona is beginning to love Cassio, he is quick to ask Iago for advice, because he doesn?t know what to do. Roderigo blindly agrees to anger Cassio, even though it may put him on bad terms with the lieutenant. Roderigo continuously believes every piece of advice Iago has to give, which shows how his love for Desdemona causes him to become susceptible to Iago?s puppetry, and is the primary cause of his misfortune later in the play. Towards the end of the play, Roderigo surprisingly becomes somewhat independent and courageous, and confronts Iago about his efforts in making Desdemona love him. ...read more.


This is an excellent example of Iago?s manipulation, which causes his downfall. Iago confidently places trust in Emilia, including her in his schemes and plans. However, this trust proves to be a bad decision when Emilia conveys the truth to Othello about the handkerchief. ?Iago: Filth, thou liest!/Emilia: By heaven, I do not, I do not, gentlemen.? (V.ii.238-249) This particular scene shows how Iago places too much trust in Emilia, and it is a direct cause of his downfall. It gives Othello and many others insight into the real truth of Iago?s manipulations of the various characters in Othello. Consequently, Iago?s evil nature allows him to place trust in no one, which is a cause of his misfortune, in addition to his unreasonable jealousy. Othello is a tragedy in which many characters experience misfortune. However, there are some characters that cause it themselves, and some characters that do not cause their own misfortune. Othello causes his own misfortune by having an extreme jealous nature and hubris. Roderigo is an innocent and ingenuous young man who succumbs to manipulation, which causes his downfall. Finally, Iago is a malevolent character that causes misfortune to others and by consequence causes his own. Shakespeare demonstrates that, in the play Othello, even when one can have positive or negative intentions, it is still possible to cause hardships to oneself unknowingly. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. 100 plus maketing plan

    Market Penetration Pricing: The company can set a low price for a new product in order to attract a large number of buyers and a large market share. Break-even pricing: The company has to make some strategies for break-even prices, setting prices to break even on the costs of making

  2. All of the characters who experience misfortune in Othello bring it upon themselves. Discuss ...

    The insecurity shown here through such an outright comparison of himself to an ugly toad living in a dungeon shows the how apprehensive he has become in his thoughts. By declaring that he would rather live as a toad in a dungeon than to share his wife with others

  1. Hedda Gabler- structure of the play and the major characters

    As characters begin to die, and as Hedda starts to manipulate L�vborg and Thea the suspense increases. However the climax of the play is clear when Hedda kills herself and the mood has escalated to the most intense point in the play, which is the clear change from one of suspense to one of awe, shock, and intensity.

  2. Hamlet Journal - rewriting key passages from the play

    God will no forgive a killer. You sinned in his eyes and you will always remain a sinner in god's eyes. If you didn't want to be guilty then why did you kill him? Land and a kingdom is not a good reason to kill and then to try and repent for a deliberate murder of your brother.

  1. Iago, in the play Othello, is a very intriguing villain. He has all the ...

    Iago deceives, steals, and kills to gain that position. However, it is not that Iago pushes aside his conscience to commit these acts, but that he lacks a conscience to begin with. He does not indulge in evil, but is the evil himself. The character of Iago can be paralleled to that of being the Devil himself, in that

  2. Honest Iago: The Master of Deception

    and receives Othello's handkerchief from Bianca, Iago once again changes the appearance of the scenario. This moment in the play stands as one of the defining moments in Iago's plan, where he is able to manipulate an event to create false intentions, which Othello perceives as Cassio talking about Desdemona and adultery.

  1. Those qualities which made Othello heroic (or admirable or exceptional) also caused his suffering. ...

    These quotes therefore reveal that Othello has power in Venice. They also prove that his higher than average status helps him escape Brabantio?s accusations, and is therefore a beneficial and desirable quality to possess. However it is this same power that leads to the start of Iago?s hatred.

  2. Fate-al Flaw. Sophocless Oedipus Rex and Shakespeares Othello are characters commonly referred to ...

    Oedipus was so determined to know the truth that he could not see the disastrous fate laid out in front of him. Neither Iokaste nor anyone else could save him from it; he was damned to fulfill the prophecies laid out for him at birth.

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