Othello: The Destruction of Honor

Othello: The Destruction of Honor

Length: 972 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Othello:  The Destruction of Honor



In The Tragedy of Othello, William Shakespeare tells the tale of the “noble Moor” whose honor and innocence bring about his downfall. Shakespeare writes of the power of jealousy, and the art of masterful deception and trickery. The story primarily takes place in Cyprus, during a war between the people of Venice and the invading Turks. In this play Shakespeare shows the feelings of Othello’s embittered right-hand man of, Iago, who feels he is passed over for a promotion and swears his revenge. He proceeds to manipulate his friends, enemies, and family into doing his bidding without any of them ever realizing his ultimate goal. He makes Othello believe that his new wife, the innocent Desdemona, is committing adultery with his newly promoted officer Michael Cassio. After this seed of jealousy has been planted, Othello’s mind takes its course in determining the true outcome, with a little more nudging from Iago. The course of action he proceeds to follow is one that not only ends his own life, but also the life of his wife and others. In Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Othello, Othello is a man who is still truly honorable, despite the course of action he takes to resolve his perceived problem.

            Throughout the novel, up until his insanity, Othello is described as a temperate man whose honor does not allow him to believe assumptions unless he has been shown proof. Firstly, when the men of Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, confront Othello’s men, Othello calmly says, “Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.” (10). Othello is confronted on the matter of his elopement with Desdemona with force and with words. Not only is he very cool about his dealings with violence, but also when he is asked to tell the story of how he had Desdemona fall in love with him he states the truth, and he doesn’t leave out any details of how he accomplished it. He openly admits that had any other man told his story, that man also would have won her heart. Only a truly honorable man can admit that it was a story, and not his personality that truly won the woman’s heart. Othello’s honor is shown by his trust in the people he knows and loves. When Iago tells Othello that he believes Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair, Othello does not believe Iago initially.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Othello: The Destruction of Honor." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Sep 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Antigone and Othello: Tragic Heroes

- Othello and Antigone are both tragic heroes. They do great deeds and have great power or strength. For example, Othello defeats Venice's enemies. Antigone makes sure that a Theban right is a Theban due. But fatal character flaws destroy the lives of the two heroes. Both of them suffer from pride and uncontrolled passion. Othello is so proud of his integrity and courage that he doesn't recognize his violent temper and his manipulability by Iago. Antigone is so proud of her commitment to the true, the right, the proper, and the correct that she doesn't respect differing, less passionate opinions....   [tags: Antigone, Othello, tragedy, Heroes,]

Research Papers
971 words (2.8 pages)

Destruction by Manipulation in Shakespeare’s Othello Essay

- ... / ‘Tis to his virtue a just equinox. / The one as long as the other. ‘Tis pity of him” (2.3.103-6). Iago portrays to be concerned about Michael Cassio’s “drinking problem” and Othello’s judgment of all the responsibility put on Cassio to Montano. Iago is trying to convince anyone who will listen that Michael Cassio is not suitable as Othello’s lieutenant. Now Iago is trying to become the trustworthy guy; which is going to make his masterpiece of destruction much easier. Iago sets his sights on Roderigo, his friend who is deceived into doing Iago’s bidding....   [tags: jealousy, honest, weakness, fears, secrets]

Research Papers
825 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Clash of Virtues in Othello

- Clash of Virtues in Othello       Perhaps it is just human nature, but people have a way of going to absolute extremes. Whether exhibiting severity in the way one loves, or the way one is loyal, or the way one strives for ambitions, people, in general, have a tendency to take their emotions or actions "all the way." It's an exhibition of passion. Being an expert on the human condition, no one knows or can illustrate this better than Shakespeare. Particularly in his tragedies, Shakespeare very precisely defines aspects of the human condition....   [tags: Othello essays]

Research Papers
2302 words (6.6 pages)

Iago's Motivation in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- Iago's Motivation in Othello      Iago is a "moral pyromaniac."  Harold C. Goddard writes that Iago consciously and unconsciously seeks to destroy the lives of others, especially others with high moral standards (Goddard 76).  However, Iago is more than just a "moral pyromaniac," he is a moral pyromaniac whose fire is fueled by pure hatred.  He is a hungry powermonger whose appetite for destruction can only be satisfied after he has chewed up and spat out the lives of others.  Iago lusts for power, but his sense of power is attained by manipulating and annihilating others in a cruel and unusual way.  Iago prepares and ignites his victims and then watches, with an e...   [tags: Othello essays]

Free Essays
1270 words (3.6 pages)

The Lost Iago in Shakespeare's Othello Essay

- The Lost Iago in Othello         In Shakespeare’s Othello the sinister nature of the ancient casts a pall of uneasiness over the narrative of the play. How can the evil influence of one character be so pervasive. Let us in this essay probe his character and find answers to our questions.   In “Historical Differences: Misogyny and Othello” Valerie Wayne exposes Iago’s inability to praise women when Desdemona asks him how he would do it:   Iago’s worry that he cannot do what Desdemona asks implies that his dispraise of women was candid and easily produced, while the praise requires labour and inspiration from a source beyond himself....   [tags: Othello essays]

Research Papers
2330 words (6.7 pages)

Shakespeare's Othello - Iago Essay

- Othello’s Iago         We find in William Shakespeare’s tragic play Othello an example of personified evil. He is the general’s ancient, Iago, and he wreaks havoc and destruction on all those under his influence.   Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar in “The Engaging Qualities of Othello” comment on how the character of Iago is the wholly expected type of villain for an Elizabethan audience:    Iago at once captures the attention of the spectator. He is the personification of the villain that Elizabethans had come to expect from Italian short stories and from Machiavellian commentary....   [tags: Othello essays]

Research Papers
1668 words (4.8 pages)

Gender Stereotypes in Othello Essay

- Stereotypes are commonly held generalized beliefs that most or all individuals sharing a given trait also should or do share other attributes assumed to be associated with aspects such as race, religion, and physical attribute. While stereotypes can erroneously shape people’s views of others, they can also influence the stereotyped individuals’ behavior as people often attempt to conform to these flawed images, especially in regards to gender stereotypes. Shakespeare’s great play Othello uses its main characters to embody the characteristics of the stereotypical females and males according to society’s liking....   [tags: Shakespeare]

Research Papers
2031 words (5.8 pages)

Othello's Character Essay

- When one watches a play, they are catching a glimpse into the characters lives. They are catching a narrow window of their existence. They do not know where they came from, what kind of experiences they have had, or what may have influenced them over the course of their lives. The central protagonist of Othello is none other than Othello himself, a man whose background ultimately shape and dictate his life during the play. Shakespeare creates Othello’s main objective to stay true to who he is; a person that we are meant to infer is filled with duty, honor, trust, respect, nobility, and the desire to do the right thing....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Research Papers
2277 words (6.5 pages)

Essay on The Protagonist in Willima Shakespeare´s Othello

- The central character, or protagonist, in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello, The Moor of Venice is Othello. Aristotle defined the concept of a tragic hero as the destruction of a noble person, usually with a personal flaw, and this flaw determines their fate. Othello is a tragic hero with a tragic flaw in one of Shakespeare’s most known tragedies. Shakespeare so prominently exhibits the tragic flaw Othello obtains, allowing implications and thoughts, to overrun reality and show how just the insecurity one possesses can allow a person to become powerless....   [tags: tragic, hero, flaw, fate, mistrust]

Research Papers
797 words (2.3 pages)

The Theme Of Death In Othello and A Doll's House Essays

- The theme of death is present in many works of literature. It is given metaphors and cloaked with different meanings, yet it always represents an end. Every end signifies a new beginning, and every death gives rise to a new birth. Physical death “...is mere transformation, not destruction,” writes Ding Ming-Dao. “What dies is merely the identity, the identification of a collection of parts that we called a person. What dies is only our human meaning” (49). Figuratively speaking, death symbolizes a change, an interruption or cessation of regular routine....   [tags: compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
1068 words (3.1 pages)

Related Searches

He tells Iago that he will not believe him unless evidence is found and shown to him. This evidence does come to him. Although it is false, he has no way of knowing the evidence had been manipulated into bolstering his jealous thoughts. Othello’s honor is also what brings him to the beginning of his collapse.

            Although Othello’s path to insanity leads him to perform dishonorable deeds, he is still honored and respected by others, who come to understand the reason for his deeds. In the beginning of the play the Duke of Venice seeks direct conversation with Othello about the invading Turks. Senators, such as Desdemona’s father, have not yet been contacted about the threat. The Duke respects Othello’s honor and capability and does not feel it necessary to confer with other senators in the area. Even after Othello’s evil misdeeds people still respect him. After Othello has killed Desdemona and himself, Cassio says, “This did I fear, but thought he had no weapon;/ For he was great of heart.” (128). Although Othello has killed his innocent wife, trusted a guilty Iago, and even ordered Cassio’s own death, he is still respected, and honored for his heart and his mind

            During Othello’s insanity, he still tries to justify his misdeeds honorably, seeing them as the only way to mend the situation. Iago’s artful manipulation of Othello’s mind is done in such a way that Othello no longer realizes what he is doing. Angered by the “proof” Iago gives him, Othello does what he believes was honorable in his situation.  When he wishes to kill his wife, it is not because he wants it to end that way, but rather because he feels it is the only way to clear the sins the she has committed. Before he kills her Othello says, “Justice to break her sword! One more, one more!/ Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,/ And love thee after.” (114). Here he is saying that he kills her out of an act for justice, despite the fact that he still loves her, because it is the honorable thing to do. When Othello learns the truth behind Iago’s treachery, he is not able to kill him because already he has seen the consequences of killing a person he loves. Instead, he leaves Iago to the authorities. He then proceeds to right the wrongs he has committed in the most honorable manner he can think of, and he kills himself.

In The Tragedy of Othello, Shakespeare shows that it is not the action Othello takes that makes him honorable, but his inner nature that plays the most important role of his honor. Shakespeare proves honor is the basis of Othello’s character and it can be seen throughout the entire play. He is calm and trusting of his loved ones. He his respected by the people he knows, and never wavers when he feels a cause is just. The only reason Shakespeare begins to show otherwise is, because the audience knows the truth behind Iago’s manipulations. If the audience was never shown that Iago was the one who put forth the plan of Othello’s destruction, they never would have hesitated to say that Othello was an honorable man. From the scene in which Othello enters the play, to his final words, Othello only does what he believes is honorable in every situation.
Return to 123HelpMe.com