There is much more to Othello than ‘A story of a credulous husband and a foolish wife’. Why, if there hadn’t been why would people still be reading this play. The reason for this is that the story was believable and that is why it is still talked about by many people. To say Othello is a story about a credulous husband and a foolish wife is a gross simplification. Othello is not just about a man and his wife but also gives a number of revealing insights. It looks at a relationship between husband and wife, relationships between different sorts of noble status and society as a whole. After reading Othello we learn a lot about views and attitudes in Elizabethan attitudes.
If the story Othello was just a story of a credulous husband and a foolish wife then how could this play be called a Shakespearean tragedy as a tragedy only occurs when something disastrous occurs to noble characters as these noble people didn’t deserve this fate. Othello is a combination of many themes put together into one play. These themes include Love, Jealousy, Hate and Racism. We are introduced to two people Iago and Roderigo who are in a middle of an argument. The character of Iago that is shown at the beginning of Othello is two faced. He plans to get revenge on Othello and is also pretending that he is going to sort out Roderigo’s problems. Roderigo is shown to be gullible and is someone who gives the impression of easily being duped. He is madly in love with Desdemona and is paying Iago money to get her back. Brabantio is someone who sees everything superficially as he dismisses Desdemona’s love for Othello as impossible, hence the result witchcraft. The description of Othello we are given by everyone we expect him to be a black primitive brute but he is in fact the opposite. His main flaw however is that he is too self -conscious. Michael Cassio is described as a woman’s man and that is all he is good for. The way Iago talks he has no merit to be the second in charge however Michael Cassio is very loyal to Othello.
This is a preview of the whole essay
We learn the complete truth about Iago and how he plays everyone to be a fool and uses every situation to his advantage to bring Othello into a raging bull and lose his wit. Iago’s basic principle is self -interest and he displays cunning selfishness and uses everyone as a pawn. Shakespeare shows us how a scoundrels like Iago are born through the weaknesses and flaws of the other characters. Iago’s situation is ironic because he depends on fooling others while he is himself fooled about the extent of his powers. He brings about their downfall only at the cost of his own. Othello’s character too takes a slow change.
Othello is a decisive, dignified and proud man; proud of his ancestry, military success, his frankness and openness of character. (1,ii, 31-32). Othello is not an observant man and he doesn’t notice things in other people, e.g. Iago and Desdemona. Othello has natural authority- he can stop a brawl with few words. The long speech in which he describes his marriage to Desdemona reveals egotism and even vanity. Othello balances wonder and content and by the end of the play these have been replaced by suspicion and discontent. Othello is volatile and stubborn. He can get suspicious of other people’s dealings and once his mind gets hold of any ideas he sticks to them. Othello is a very complex character so for someone to simplify his character into a credulous husband is a great simplification and to say that the play Othello is only about a credulous husband and a foolish wife is an even greater simplification.
Desdemona’s character is pure and she doesn’t have many flaws in her character. She keeps a balanced view of marriage, is perceptive and responsive to others. The one flaw she has is that she is very unsuspecting of Iago’s motives in doing what he does. However she is not alone as Iago fools every character in Othello and they all think of him as “Honest Iago”. She feels sorry for Cassio and Iago is able to manipulate the situation to meet his own ends.
The play Othello deals with many relationships and one of the main ones is between Othello and Desdemona. Desdemona loves Othello for his bravery and courage. This is exceptionally unusual in those times to do this as Othello was a moor and even though he was a general was still an outcast in society and was not thought that highly of. Desdemona is faithful to Othello ad devoted to him.
Another major theme is racism. This is very apparent as Othello is called the moor more times than his actual name. Othello himself realised he was an outcast and felt under pressure when he was accused of using witchcraft on Desdemona. Even when it was accepted he married Desdemona without using witchcraft no one felt he was worthy enough as he was black. Many people throughout the play refer him to as a beast.
Jealousy is a key theme in the play Othello and that is what causes Othello to be such a great play. Iago is jealous of Cassio as he feels that he deserves the promotion instead of him. He plans to bring Cassio and Othello down because of this. However at the start of the play the idea had never occurred to him to use Desdemona and Michael Cassio to bring down Othello. At the end of the play he is basically asking Othello to murder his wife. Iago’s character grows more and more evil.
“Othello” Is a very complex story and brings a group of characters all of who are so different at first but as you read further and further into the play you see how similar they all really are and how all of them have weaknesses. At first you may think of it as simply a love story but it has many other themes that include Racism, Hate, Jealousy. So to say “Othello is about a credulous husband and a foolish wife is a gross simplification and is not at all justified.