Othello's Character

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When one watches a play, they are catching a glimpse into the characters lives. They are catching a narrow window of their existence. They do not know where they came from, what kind of experiences they have had, or what may have influenced them over the course of their lives. The central protagonist of Othello is none other than Othello himself, a man whose background ultimately shape and dictate his life during the play.

Shakespeare creates Othello’s main objective to stay true to who he is; a person that we are meant to infer is filled with duty, honor, trust, respect, nobility, and the desire to do the right thing. If any of these listed attributes are awry in his life, or at fault among the people he associates with, he is sure to choose the most direct course of action to change what is “wrong”, majorly due to his military background.

A.C Bradley discusses in his work “Bradley on Othello” the themes of Othello’s personality that pre-disposition him to take the most direct course of action, “Othello's nature is all of one piece. His trust, where he trusts, is absolute. Hesitation is almost impossible to him. He is extremely self-reliant, and decides and acts instantaneously” (Bradley). These ideas of absolute and lack of hesitation are important to remember when studying Othello’s character. In further explanation, Othello is a fighter, a General seasoned in combat. He does not hesitate in decision making, because he knows that moment’s hesitation could cost victory in battle. Othello embodies the same philosophy in his everyday decisions. He does not make decisions “halfway”. When Othello puts his mind to a task, he is either entirely invested in his duty or not invested at all. Consequently, this philosop...

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... his super objective in every way possible. He abided by it throughout the course of the entire play, and applied it to all of his various miniature objectives as well. Based on the actions of the play, the only way for Othello to achieve his super objective was to take his own life. He will always do, what in his eyes, is seen as “the right thing to do”. Othello knew he could not live with the actions he had committed, and therefore took his own life. He stayed true to himself throughout his entire life, but by staying true to the one sided, black and white nature of which he was, Othello also brought upon his own death. Should people change the way they are? Was Othello sticking to his strict moral code the best decision he could have made. Perhaps not, as noted that due to staying true, one is left with a “heavy act with heavy heart relate” (V.ii. 368).
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