Personality Disorder In Othello

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Everyone in the world has the same characteristics. Anyone can feel happiness, sadness, anger, or fear. However, the way a person allows certain traits to overpower others is how personality forms. In William Shakespeare’s play, Othello, a wide range of characters are present with different personalities. The protagonist, Othello, spirals into a pit of jealousy and paranoia over the course of the tragedy. The question that follows these actions is whether these uncontrollable emotions are signs of a mental disorder. Othello displays many aspects of a personality disorder, such as being suspicious and untrustworthy of his wife and associates and misinterpreting congenial behavior. Although he does not exhibit all of the criteria, it can be concluded…show more content…
He exhibits this through a conversation he has with Desdemona about Cassio. During this conversation, Othello interrogates Desdemona about the handkerchief he gave to her (Shakespeare, 3.4.108-109). The handkerchief is a symbol that represents her faithfulness and loyalty. He demands to see if it is in her possession to prove if Iago was right about Cassio having it. Since the idea of the affair is firmly placed in his mind, asking Desdemona if she is faithful and her repeated talking about Cassio makes him hate Cassio even more. To Othello, his wife ignoring his outbursts to show him the handkerchief was seen as her avoiding the question and lying about the affair. This conversation could also support Criterion A7 because it shows his suspicion and distrust of his wife. Another occurrence where Othello is distrustful of his co-workers and friends is when he threatens Iago to give him more evidence of Desdemona having an affair. Othello…show more content…
The behaviors and thinking processes behind individuals with paranoid personality disorder “can interfere with a person's ability to maintain relationships, as well as their ability to function socially and in work situations” (WebMD). Because of Othello’s anger and mental instability, he threatens Iago to find evidence of Desdemona being unfaithful. If the affair was real, it would be completely irrational of him to take his anger out on the person who enlightened him with the information. When Iago first told him, he said that the only reason he told Othello was so he would not see Othello in ignorance. Othello’s irritability made him overlook his trust in Iago, which could have destroyed his relationship with him if it was not part of Iago’s
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