Essay on Othello, By William Shakespeare

Essay on Othello, By William Shakespeare

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Throughout the play, Othello is looked at as an outsider who gained respect as a general and then gained attention for secretly marrying Desdemona. To overcome his status as a Moor, Othello feels the need to always appear to be in control which consequently makes him susceptible to being manipulated. Eventually, his desire to be respected becomes his greatest weakness and leads to him betraying the person who loved him the most. Othello’s willingness to assume the worst about his wife, and his decision to kill her for her alleged infidelity gives rise to different theories as to what his true motive for murdering her was. In the Stuart Birge film adaptation, Othello is overridden by emotion due to being betrayed by a woman he loves dearly whereas in the Oliver Parker version, he seems to murder his wife as revenge for making him look bad by cuckolding him. Although the text of the play suggests the Oliver Parker version is more accurate, both interpretations seem plausible.
Othello’s interaction with Desdemona varies greatly between these two film adaptations. In the 1995 film version, Othello’s character enters her bedroom and sits down and rubs his face as if he is contemplating what he is about to do. He appears determined to kill her by the way he takes a deep breath and convinces himself that, “It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul” (5.2.1). Othello makes this statement to convey that he believes the only way for justice to occur is for Desdemona’s life to be taken as repentance for betraying him. As he is speaking, music begins to play which invokes the sense that the tone of the scene is becoming more sinister. The mood continues to grow darker as Othello awakens Desdemona and demands she confess her sins, although he...


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...professing his love for his wife, Othello states that he loves the attention and pity his wife gives him. Once Desdemona’s attention shifted to another man, Othello was no longer getting anything out of their relationship, which resulted in him ending their relationship by killing her. Because Othello didn’t show much love for his wife earlier, his statement of loving his wife too much in his final moment seems like just an excuse to make himself look less guilty.
In the end, it is unclear exactly what Othello’s intentions were, allowing his character to be portrayed in a variety of ways. However, his statements seem to suggest that he was motivated by his own insecurity and revengefulness more than by his love for his wife. Othello’s inflated sense of self pride and need for power ultimately caused him to act irrationally and lose what he most desired, his honor.

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