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Do Characters in Othello Cause Their Own Misfortune?

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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