Comparison: Macbeth and Othello

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Villains are crafty and skillful while using their mastery of manipulation in an attempt to gain power. Shakespeare presents the tragedies, Macbeth and Othello as plays filled with plots driven by manipulation. Shakespeare uses the power of language in the characters Iago and Lady Macbeth by using influential rhetoric to sway those around them and also lead to the deadly downfall of Othello and Macbeth. In both of their cases, Shakespeare reveals the power of power because when things do not go according to plan, their own downfall is inevitable as well. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth’s actions show that women too can have the ambitions that men have and perhaps be just as devious and evil. It is this ambition and ease of cruelty that fuels her manipulation. She is considered to be masculine in her character because she takes an affirmative role while supporting and persuading a weak and fearful husband. Shakespeare allows Lady Macbeth to cast out her femininity, allowing her to pursue her murderous actions. Her influence over her husband reveals his weaknesses and the weaknesses of men. Iago on the other hand is consumed with envy and seeks revenge over Othello. His consistent deceit and ease of manipulation allows us to see his amoral nature. Shakespeare allows the audience a connection to Iago, one finds themselves intrigued by his evil actions. Pointing to the evil we all have within us Shakespeare allows his audience to live through Iago. Lady Macbeth and Iago both have the advantage of knowing their counterparts very well, thus, are able to scheme and manipulate by using their weaknesses against them.
Lady Macbeth ambition surpasses that of her husband and once she has heard about the witches prophesy she feels that he will be Ki...

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...ion because he does not give Othello the answers he seeks. Othello already poisoned with hate and anger kills Iago to avenge the deaths of Desdemona and Emilia.
In both Macbeth and Othello, Shakespeare uses his characters to exploit their counterparts to gain what they desire. They both disturb the natural order of things in the play and cause the downfall for all involved. They are both master manipulators who seek power they believe they deserve and will stop at nothing until their will is done. Shakespeare reveals how jealousy and ambition can be blinding and cause only destruction to all involved.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William, and E. A. J. Honigmann. Othello. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2001. Print.
Shakespeare, William, and Kenneth Muir. Macbeth. London: Methuen, 1972. Print.
Garber, Marjorie B. Shakespeare After All. New York: Pantheon, 2004. Print.
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