Blind Persistence

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The play Othello by William Shakespeare is a portrayal of jealousy and deception. The two characters Cassio and Roderigo play a vital role throughout the play in portraying Shakespeare’s theme of how ignorance, whether it be words of advice from others or just indications, can lead to one’s downfall. Cassio and Roderigo both play an essential role in showing how being persistent—ignoring everything that could be signs of warning—to attain what we want is not always the correct approach.

The first similarity that links Cassio and Roderigo is their attraction towards Desdemona. Cassio’s relationship with Desdemona is really just on a platonic level. However, because of the misinterpretation of Cassio’s introduction with Desdemona, one can be led to believe that there is a scandal going on between them. In the case of Roderigo, his fixation with Desdemona ultimately led him to his downfall. Because of his obsession, Roderigo devoted all his wealth and effort to acquire Desdemona for himself. Both Cassio and Roderigo’s ties to Desdemona put them in such positions that could’ve been avoidable. Cassio could have cut his ties with Desdemona immediately after he had heard the about the gossip, and Roderigo drop his obsession with Desdemona. This idea of involving oneself in other people’s ordeal in a sense supports what the Duke advised in Othello, I.iii.199-209. Cassio and Roderigo do not have any ties with Desdemona, but yet they want to create a nuisance for themselves by involving Desdemona into their lives.

Another similarity that links the two characters is how they chase after their own desires. After Othello demotes Cassio, “Cassio, I love thee / But never more be officer of mine” (II.ii. 211-212), Cassio shows great remorse f...

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...Roderigo who mourns for what he had lost loses everything.

By analyzing Cassio and Roderigo’s similarities and differences, one can see Shakespeare’s theme of how ignorance, whether it be words of advice from others or just indications, can lead to one’s downfall. Cassio and Roderigo both play an essential role in showing how being persistent to attain what we want is not always the correct approach. The main lesson learned is that when one is presented with signs of warning, heed them!

Works Cited
Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Daniel Vitkus. New York:

Barnes & Noble Shakespeare, 2007.

Burgess, C. F. “Othello’s Occupation.” Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 2. (Spring

1975): 208-213. Folger Shakespeare Library. Web. 11 Nov. 2009.

Draper, John William. The Humors and Shakespeare’s Characters. New York:

AMS Press, 1965. PR2989.D698.

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