The Flaws of Othello, Murderer of Desdemona

1465 Words6 Pages
In Shakespeare’s play Othello, the main character Othello is typically victimized and portrayed as a mere scapegoat of the villainous Iago’s devious plans. However, Othello is not completely void of responsibility for the death of his wife. Othello, the tragic hero, is just as responsible as Iago for his premeditated murder of Desdemona due to his own internal flaws. Specifically, flaws such as his vivid imagination and his self over-idealization are brought to the surface by Iago, which consequently allows Iago to easily manipulate Othello.
Othello, a tragic hero full of hidden flaws, attempts to appear as a man of only logic and bravery, and not subjected to human emotions. His spectacle begins with his storytelling at Brabantio’s household. As Othello reveals to the Duke of Venice:
Her father loved me, oft invited me,
Still questioned me the story of my life
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes
That I have past…
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth scrapes i’th’ imminent-deadly breach,
Of taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence…
And of the cannibals that each other eat,
The anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders. (I.iii.127-144)

Othello states that Brabantio had been interested in stories of Othello’s courageous adventures and hardships he had overcame. To satisfy Brabantio’s desire to hear of such stories, Othello tells about his adventures on land and sea, his near-death experiences, being taken and placed into slavery, and then his emancipation. As Othello continues, he also speaks of cannibals and men with severe deformity, such that their head grew under their shoulders rather...

... middle of paper ...

... to his self over-idealization, that he wishes to remain hidden. Unfortunately, Iago uncovers these flaws and because the flaws are unique to Othello, Iago is able to manipulate Othello more easily than anyone else.

Works Cited

Bent, Geoffrey. "Three Green-Eyed Monsters: Acting as Applied Criticism in Shakespeare's
"Othello"" The Antioch Review 56.3 (1998): Web. 3 May. 2014.
Kirschbaum, Leo. "The Modern Othello." ELH 11.4 (1944): 283-96. Web. 3 May.
2014. .
Rogers, Stephen. “Othello: Comedy in Reverse.” Shakespeare Quarterly 24.2 (1973): 210-
20. Web. 3 May. 2014. .
Shakespeare, William, and Edward Pechter. Othello: Authoritative Text, Sources and Contexts,
Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004. Print.
Open Document