Free College Essays - The Noble Othello in Shakespeare's Othello

analytical Essay
949 words
949 words

The Noble Othello This character is so noble, Othello's feelings and actions follow so inevitably from it and from the forces brought to bear on it, and his sufferings are so heart-rending, that he stirs a passion of mingled love and pity which readers feel for no other hero in Shakespeare, and to which not even Mr Swinburne can do more than justice. Yet there are some critics and not a few readers who cherish a grudge against him. They do not merely think that in the later stages of his temptation he showed a certain obtuseness, and that, to speak pedantically, he acted with unjustifiable precipitance and violence; no one, I suppose, denies that. But, even when they admit that he was not of a jealous temper, they consider that he was "easily jealous"; they seem to think that it was inexcusable in him to feel any suspicion of his wife at all; and they blame him for never suspecting Iago or asking him for evidence. I refer to this attitude of mind chiefly in order to draw attention to certain points in the story. It comes partly from inattention (for Othello did suspect Iago and did ask him for evidence); partly from a misconstruction of the text which makes Othello appear jealous long before he really is so; [Endnote 2] and partly from failure to realise certain essential facts. I will begin with these. 1. Othello, we have seen, was trustful, and thorough in his trust. He put entire confidence in the honesty of Iago, who had not only been his companion in arms, but, as he believed, had just proved his faithfulness in the matter of the marriage. This confidence was misplaced, and we happen to know it; but it was no sign of stupidity in Othello. For his opinion of Iago was the opinion of practically everyone who knew him: and that opinion was that Iago was before all things "honest", his very faults being those of excess in honesty. This being so, even if Othello had not been trustful and simple, it would have been quite unnatural in him to be unmoved by the warnings of so honest a friend, warnings offered with extreme reluctance and manifestly from a friend's sense of duty. [Endnote 3] Any husband would have been troubled by them. 2. Iago does not bring these warnings to a husband who had lived with a wife for months and years and knew her like his sister or his bosom-friend.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how othello stirs a passion of mingled love and pity which readers feel for no other hero in shakespeare, and not even mr swinburne can do more than justice.
  • Analyzes how othello's utter powerlessness to repel it on the ground of knowledge of his wife and instinctive interpretation of character between persons of the same race should complete his misery.
  • Opines that othello's confidence is shaken, he is confused and deeply troubled, but not yet jealous in the proper sense of that word.
  • Analyzes how othello was trustful and thorough in his trust in iago, who had just proved his faithfulness in the marriage.
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