Othello – Justice and Passion Essay

Othello – Justice and Passion Essay

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Othello is, without a doubt, one of Shakespeare’s most tragic heroes. He fills every sense of the word, beginning as a character nearly without flaws but evolving into a misled, pitiful disgrace whose sense of justice has been warped by the darkness of Iago. Even the flaws he is stricken with are those that may seem praise-worthy in some. Throughout the entirety of the play Othello has one supreme goal, subconscious or otherwise, in mind: As a general and as a man, he desires to rule militarily, socially, and romantically, with justice and without passion. This ‘passion’ refers to the calmness and balanced judgment required of such a figure as Othello. When we first meet Othello in person, he is immediately stricken as our hero. He loves with all of his soul, lives to uphold justice, and apparently governs without emotion tainting his mind. However, as the play continues, he degrades into less of a paragon and into a shell of a hero struck down by tragedy. His jealousy is spurred on by that which he vowed to never let rule him; his passion. Othello becomes little more than a puppet on a string, a powerful sword swung by Iago’s arm.
Shakespeare’s Othello is filled with flawed characters. From the beginning of the play we as the audience are set upon by a love-stricken fool with Roderigo and a temperamental father with Brabantio. It seems almost as if Shakespeare wishes us as an audience to connect with the least flawed character given to us. We immediately latch onto Othello, the brave war-hero. We feel insulted and angered by Brabantio’s accusations against him. Perhaps it is the differing color of his skin that makes our connection with him all the stronger. In any case, we are presented with Othello, the greatest character in ...


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...nd Cassio together, Othello’s emotions began to seep through. By the end of the play, they are running so rampant that not even the truthful, fearful, and dire pleadings of his wife for life could sway him.
As a tragic hero, Othello is one of Shakespeare's most pity-worthy. He is shown to an empathetic audience, and while he may seem ignorant and rash at first, we come to learn of how deep his emotions run. So crucial is Othello to Othello, that the entire play is rightfully named after him alone. We as an audience understand Othello. We grieve with him as he slays Desdemona; scream with him as he discovers the truth about Iago, and fall silent with him as he puts an end to his life. As Othello himself remarks, “Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, / Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak / Of one that loved not wisely; but too well” (V.ii.342-344).

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