Psychological Criticism of Characters in Othello

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In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, Iago, the villain, deceives the main character, Othello into thinking his wife is unfaithful. Although Iago’s claims are not true, Othello believes him, and by the end of the play, jealousy overtakes Othello. Othello’s jealousy is so intense that he kills his beautiful, faithful wife Desdemona due to his unfortunate trust in Iago. Because jealousy is not common to Othello’s nature, it seems odd that his jealousy drives him to murder. Also questionable, are Iago’s reasons for wanting to destroy Othello. Analysis will discover the characters unique motivations for their actions. Othello is the tragic hero of the play, whose tragic flaw is jealousy. In the beginning, Othello seems to display only superior qualities. He has a good reputation and people respect him as a good lieutenant and a man of noble character. Othello assumes the best about people and trusts everyone. Before the play begins, Othello elopes with Desdemona. Desdemona is the Senator’s daughter and some people think Othello married her to obtain political benefits. However, Othello demonstrates his honesty when he exposes that he is of noble heritages himself. Later, Othello shows his dignity and great sense of security in who he is when he discourages the men from fighting. He says, “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them. Good signor, you shall more command with years than with your weapons.” In this quote, he shows wisdom and dignity by telling the men that age and status generate more respect than force does. Another great quality of Othello is that his relationship with Desdemona is not purely sexual. He loves Desdemona for her personality and for everything she is. After marrying Desdemona, Othello has to... ... middle of paper ... ...nter. EBSCO. Web. 7 Apr. 2011. Macaulay, Marcia. "When Chaos Is Come Again: Narrative and Narrative Analysis in Othello." Style 39.3 (Fall 2005): 259-276. Rpt. in Shakespearean Criticism. Ed. Michelle Lee. Vol. 108. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. Prior, Moody E. "Character in Relation to Action in "Othello"" Modern Philology. 4th ed. Vol. 44. University of Chicago. 225-37. JSTOR. Web. 8 Apr. 2011. Shakespeare, William. “Othello”. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Rev. Custom Edition for San Jacinto College- Central. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2010. 1248- 1348. Print. Wood, Sam. "Where Iago Lies: Home, honesty and the Turk in Othello." Early Modern Literary Studies 14.3 (2009): 12. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 7 Apr. 2011.

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