Othello, By William Shakespeare Essay example

Othello, By William Shakespeare Essay example

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“I told him what I thought and told no more than what he found himself was apt and true”. Who is responsible for the tragedy that unfolds in Othello?

In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, we witness a classical Shakespearean tragedy where the main protagonist Othello has a fatal flaw of jealousy. In Act 5 Scene 2, Iago justifies his actions and claims that “I told him what I thought and told no more than what he found himself was apt and true.” Like Iago himself, such vindications should not be taken by face value and are contradicted in his numerous soliloquies. Iago’s inner machinations are manifested through his vengeful plots and intentions to “ensnare” multiple characters. The liability for the tragic events in Othello is shared across multiple characters. As Othello’s foil, Iago manipulates, tricks and gulls the central protagonist Othello into murdering his wife Desdemona, thus bringing about a terrible tragedy. Ultimately, the protagonist himself is partially held culpable for his firsthand act of murder of Desdemona. However, a deeper, perhaps more satisfactory interpretation of the play could find Iago as an inner aspect of vice in the psychology of Othello himself.
Othello’s inner insecurities and hamartia, drive his jealousy and rage, ultimately resulting in his tragic downfall. This is clearly stipulated by Aristotle who argues that a tragic figure like, Othello, is responsible for his own actions. The love and “souls joy” Othello has for Desdemona is so sweet and innocent that it reflects a sense of hollowness. He acknowledges his ‘blackness’ and absence of “the soft parts of speech that chamberer’s have”. This leads to him becoming vulnerable towards jealousy and manipulation. Othello allows jealousy to “mock th...


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...ll the tragic events that occur.
Ultimately, the blame for the calamitous events that develop throughout Othello is spread across many characters. Othello’s gullibility and his all-consuming jealousy become the determining factors in the classical Shakespearean tragedy. He falls victim to pure evil and becomes the legal criminal for Desdemona’s murder. The main antagonist, Iago, ensnares other characters in his web of evil and exploits the inner demon within. However, a different interpretation sees Iago as a figurative representation of total cynicism, total malevolence with a sole goal to create complete pandemonium. Shakespeare projects this inner component onto the Elizabethan stage as it is presented as a fatal flaw that overcomes the protagonist. Shakespeare represents vice as an inner flaw all humans possess and that evil is the human privation of goodness.

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