Theme Of Honour In Othello

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An Exploration of Honour in Othello In Othello, the titular character is a visible minority who holds a high position in the army but falls victim to manipulation by his seemingly trustworthy ensign and friend. While the theme of jealousy remains the main reason for the eventual death of both Emilia and Desdemona, the preservation of honour and reputation also fuel the characters’ actions toward the women. Therefore, the men in the play act cruelly and unjustly in order to defend their honour. While the conflicts between the Othello and Iago seem to be due to jealousy, the play suggests that the men are scared of the women and their power to destroy their honour and reputation. Othello, being a high-ranking official in the army, values…show more content…
As Othello is known in the play as the Moor, he often faces discrimination that his peers did not face. When Brabantio finds out that Othello married his daughter, he claims that Othello must have “enchanted her” (1.2.64) and that his daughter “…t’incur[ed] a general mock,” (1.2.70) by “run[ning] from her guardage to the sooty bosom.” (1.2.71) In other words, Brabantio is saying that he is in disbelief as to why Desdemona would marry a Moor when her socioeconomic status was so much higher. As a result of being treated as an inferior due to skin colour, Othello puts more weight on honour and reputation. Since his high ranking position in the army set him apart from other Moors, he uses it as compensation towards many aspects of his life such as marriage. For example, Othello associates the “…services which [he] has done the seignniory” (1.2.17) to Brabantio’s criticisms about him. Othello knows that his position holds power, and he is able to confidently articulate why he is suitable candidate to marry Desdemona. Unfortunately, Othello’s confidence does not last later in the play when his honour is suddenly threatened by presumptions that Desdemona is engaged in unfaithful acts. Soon thereafter, he loses his…show more content…
From this point on, Othello insecurity manifests into a seemingly irrational fear of being cuckolded, and his self-perceived worth diminishes exponentially. Othello comments on the likelihood of Desdemona cheating, by explaining how it may be “for [he is] black / And have not those soft parts of conversation / That chamberers have…” (3.3.280-282) Othello’s frustration with the threat of being cuckolded puts strain on his relationship with Desdemona, and she quickly becomes a victim of domestic abuse. For example, Othello acts as an interrogator, demanding to see the handkerchief which he gave her that symbolizes faithfulness and commitment towards Othello. (Quotation) When she is unable to produce their symbol of trust, Othello’s anger manifests inside him. The audience is shown a stark contrast to Othello’s typically cool, collected and composted nature. This abrupt and irrational change in behaviour is emphasized when Othello strikes Desdemona in front of Lordovico, (4.1.245) Othello’s

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