Othello Chose His Fate

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The play "Othello the Moor of Venice," is one of Shakespeare's great tragedies. That being so, for every tragedy, there is the tragic hero- a man that is, at bottom, truly honorable and good, but plagued by a flaw that causes his fateful undoing. The question then arises whether there is sufficient evidence to all-together condemn Othello as a malevolent and innately evil man, or such evidence that he was simply deceived by Iago's treachery and should be excused for his actions. Yet, as the play unfolds, it is clear that no such solid line can be drawn. That is, we are given evidence that rather suggests that Othello's dynamic role as the tragic hero manipulates the very virtue of his greatness to his demise. It is Othello's passion, the same one that makes him a great general and noble husband, that sparks his jealousy and leads to his fall and that of those around him.

The image first given of Othello and those throughout much of the play provide abundant evidence of Othello's virtue. A passionate and dedicated man, Othello exceeds in all that he does. He is not only a warrior and the general in the army, but a man respected by his contemporaries. The senator endears him as "the valiant Moor" (I.III.47-48) and by the governor, "gentle signior" (I.III.50). We see that Othello has nothing to hide, no guilt to shoulder. When advised that he should flee from Brabantio's wrath, Othello answers saying: "I fetch my life and being from noble siege (I.II.21-22)...I must be found. My parts, my title, and my perfect soul shall manifest me rightly (I.II.30-32). When faced with false charges of drugging and abducting Desdemona, he handles matters with forthrightness and nobility. To Brabantio and the members of the senate, Othello eloque...

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...mes to all who are present's attention that Othello had been deceived and Iago was the villain behind these happenings. Realizing his great wrongdoing, Othello laments: "O cursed, cursed slave! Whip me, ye devils, from the possession of this heavenly sight! Blow me about in winds! Roast me in sulfur!" (V.II.278-280) and having reached rock bottom, he takes his own life.

Othello's madness is a direct result of Iago's manipulation. However, ultimately it is in his own hands that Othello's fate rests. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, though deceived by the serpent, they chose their own course of action and had to pay the consequences as a result. Othello falls prey to his jealousy and rage, and as a victim of his own passion, is made the tragic hero. Though not an evil person, but innately a good and noble man, Othello falls in the same passion that he rose.
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