Morality and Immorality in Othello

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Morality and Immorality in Othello William Shakespeare’s tragic drama Othello presents to the audience a picture of many different shades of morality and immorality. It is the purpose of this essay to elaborate in detail on this thesis. Roderigo’s opening lines to Iago in Act 1 Scene 1 take us to the very root of the problem: Tush! never tell me; I take it much unkindly That thou, Iago, who hast had my purse As if the strings were thine, shouldst know of this. (1.1) In other words, the wealthy playboy has been paying off the ancient for the soldier’s intercession with Desdemona on behalf of Roderigo. This payoff has been in progress before the play begins, and it continues throughout, even in Cyprus, until the end. Yes, it would seem that money is at the root of all the tragic misfortune in this drama. In order to assure that Roderigo’s gifts, both in the form of money and jewelry, continue to himself, he initiates an intrigue which begins with the late-night storming of Brabantio’s residence, and ends with the deaths of Roderigo, Desdemona, Othello and Emilia. The intrigue begins when Iago suggests to the wealthy playboy that he may be able to recover Desdemona by taking immediate strong action with her father against the general: Call up her father, Rouse him: make after him, poison his delight, Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen, And, though he in a fertile climate dwell, Plague him with flies: though that his joy be joy, Yet throw such changes of vexation on't, As it may lose some colour. (1.1) This incident leads to the public accusation against the Moor by Braban... ... middle of paper ... ...her murdered mistress, resuscitates morality in this play. Emilia refutes the untrue notions which Othello says motivated him to kill; she counters Iago’s lies (“She give it Cassio? No, alas, I found it, / And I did give’t my husband.”) and lays the guilt for Desdemona’s murder on his shoulders. And she sacrifices her very life for the truth; she dies a martyr, stabbed by evil Iago. Othello also is a martyr in a sense, paying in full for the crime that he committed. WORKS CITED Coles, Blanche. Shakespeare’s Four Giants. Rindge, New Hampshire: Richard Smith Publisher, 1957. Jorgensen, Paul A. William Shakespeare: The Tragedies. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985. Shakespeare, William. Othello. In The Electric Shakespeare. Princeton University. 1996. http://www.eiu.edu/~multilit/studyabroad/othello/othello_all.html No line nos.
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