Misinterpretation of Reality in Othello by William Shakespeare

Powerful Essays
Misinterpretation of Reality in Othello

Othello, by William Shakespeare, is a mix of love, sexual passion and

the deadly power of jealousy. Shakespeare has created an erotic thriller

based on a human emotion that people are all familiar with. There is

an extraordinary fusion of characters' with different passions in Othello.

Every character is motivated by a different desire. Shakespeare mesmerizes the

reader by manipulating his characters abilities to perceive and discern what is

happening in reality. It is this misinterpretation of reality that leads to

the erroneous perceptions that each character holds.

After reading this tragedy, the depth of Shakespeare's characters

continue to raise many questions in the minds of the reader. The way I

percieve the character of Othello and what concerns me, is that Othello is able

to make such a quick transition from love to hate of Desdemona. In Act 3, Scene

3, Othello states, "If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself! I'll not

believe 't." (lines 294-295) Yet only a couple hundred lines later he says,

"I'll tear her to pieces" (line 447) and says that his mind will never change

from the "tyrannous hate" (line 464) he now harbors. Does Othello make the

transition just because he is so successfully manipulated by Iago? Or is there

something particular about his character which makes him make this quick

change? I believe that "jealousy" is too simple of a term to describe Othello.

I think that Othello's rapid change from love to hate for Desdemona is fostered

partly by an inferiority complex. He appears to be insecure in his love for

Desdemona (as well as i...

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percieved as extraordinary.

Works Cited and Consulted

Alexander, Peter. Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964.

Greene, Gayle. "'This That You Call Love': Sexual and Social Tragedy in Othello." in Shakespeare and Gender: A History. Deborah E. Baker and Ivo Kamps. New York: Verso, 1995. 47-62.

Mason, H.A. Shakespeare's Tragedies of Love. New York: Barnes and Noble. 1970.

Neely, Carol Thomas. "Women and Men in Othello: "What should such a fool/Do with so good a woman?" In Broken Nuptials in Shakespeare's Plays. Carol Thomas Neely. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.

"Othello's Occupation." The Norton Shakespeare Workshop. Mark Rose, ed. CD-ROM. W.W. Norton, 1998.

Shakespeare, William. "Othello". The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997. 2100-2172.
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