Othello is manipulated by the truly evil and duplicitous Iago who has so few redeeming qualities. Many of Othello's insecurities are derived from his race and from the perception that he is lowlier than his wife. civic society. Each thing Iago says is cause for worry. Othello is an outsider who is intelligent and confident in military matters but socially insecure. martial and political command of Cyprus; indeed, in his dying speech, When they begin to specify whom they Lee Jamieson, M.A., is a theater scholar and educator.

He says, -“[Desdemona’s] Later,
Character Analysis Othello.

from other Venetians. with his words. Othello tells his life story to Desdemona, and she sees him through his words. In the final moments of the play, Othello regains his composure Under pressure, he makes an inspiring speech. Fate is cruel to Othello, like the cruel fate of ancient Greek tragedies. He has courage, intelligence, the skill of command, and the respect of his troops. Othello is a combination of greatness and weakness, in his own words "an honourable murderer" (V.2, 295). The duke’s reply to Othello’s speech about how he wooed Desdemona with CliffsNotes study guides are written by real teachers and professors, so no matter what you're studying, CliffsNotes can ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams. little blessed with the soft phrase of peace” (I.iii.81–82). bookmarked pages associated with this title. One of Othello’s admirable qualities is that he believes that men should be transparent and honest as he is; “Certain, men should be what they seem” (Act 3 Scene 3 Line 134). It is Desdemona, as well as Othello, who turns the secret marriage into a social success with her skillfully worded defense. -Othello is also able to captivate his peers with his speech. Othello admits as much when he tells the This juxtaposition between Othello’s transparency and Iago’s duality identifies him as a sympathetic character despite his actions. He is a general in the Venetian defense forces, and, although a foreigner from Africa, he has won this post by excellence in the field of war. himself that makes him a tragic figure rather than simply Iago’s Unfortunately, Othello’s insecurity gets the better of him and he is moved to kill his wife in a fit of jealousy. from your Reading List will also remove any A Moor is … Othello's achievement is not so much that he survived this unpromising life, but that he survived it in such a spectacularly successful manner, ending up one of the most powerful men in the Venetian defense forces. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. and, once again, seduces both his onstage and offstage audiences Those who consider Othello their social and civic peer, “Haply for I am black, And have not those soft parts of conversation That chamberers have…” (Othello, Act 3 Scene 3, Line 267), Iago and Roderigo describe Othello at the start of the play, without even naming him, using his racial difference to identify him, referring to him as “the Moor”, “an old black ram”. supposedly discuss Desdemona in Act IV, scene i; and Othello will

3 Prominent Themes Found in William Shakespeare's 'Othello', Iago Character Analysis From Shakespeare's 'Othello', An Analysis of Shakespeare Characters Hermia and Her Father, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - Study Guide, M.A., Theater Studies, Warwick University, B.A., Drama and English, DeMontfort University. Whenever they look at his black face, however brilliant a general he is, he knows the others are thinking "Yes, but he is not really one of us." I think that thou art just, and think thou art not.” (Act 3 Scene 3, Line 388-390). Othello is aware of the precarious nature of success and happiness. 7–32). All rights reserved.

Suddenly he sees possibilities for himself to which he had never before aspired. However, once he makes a decision, he is again the military man, decisive in action. A celebrated soldier and trusted leader whose race both defines him “The Moor” and defies his lofty position; it would be rare for a man of race to have such a highly respected position in Venetian society. Pride is also one of Othello’s weaknesses; for him, his wife’s alleged affair confounds his belief that he is a lesser man, that he cannot live up to her expectations and her position in society; her need for a conventional white man is a critical blow to his achieved position. state (V.ii.348). in Act I, scene iii, he protests, “Rude am I in my speech, / And several quests” to look for Othello (I.ii.46). Two of the key characters are Cassio, Othello's loyal captain, and Roderigo, a man who is love with Othello's wife, Desdemona. and necessary to the state, and he is an integral part of Venetian In the first scene, he claims to be angry at Othello for having passed him over for the position of lieutenant (I.i. He claims a reputation for honesty and plain speaking, yet he invents elaborate lies in order to exploit and manipulate other people. Othello feels that his marriage is at the pinnacle of his life: "If it were now to die, / @'Twere now to be most happy, for I fear / My soul hath her content so absolute, / That not another comfort, like to this / Succeeds in unknown fate" (II.1, 190-194).
More importantly, he is visibly different due to the color of his skin, so he lives constantly among, but separated from, other people. Over the course of the play, both are lured into the complex love plot engineered by Iago, one of Shakespeare's best-written villains. “the Moor” (I.i.57), “the thick-lips” (I.i.66), Iago finds it easy to drive Othello to jealousy and think that Desdemona loves another man because he already feels that her love for him is too good to be true. One could argue that Othello is easily manipulated but as an honest man himself, he has no reason to doubt Iago. Character Analysis Iago Shakespeare presents Iago as a collection of unsolvable puzzles. The relationship between Othello and Emilia is never corroborated but Emilia has a very negative opinion of Othello, possibly based on dealings with her own husband? Shakespeare presents this fact in the dialogue and also in the staging of the play: Othello's is a black face among a sea of white faces, and he is constantly referred to as "The Moor," a representative African, while others go by their personal names and are seen as independent individuals. of his exotic qualities. Iago has only to push Othello to the belief that he has been betrayed, and Othello does the rest, judging, condemning, and executing Desdemona. The life of early separation from home and family, followed by danger and adventure, is perhaps the life story of thousands of men down the ages who become soldiers of fortune and who end up as corpses in ditches at an early age, unwept, unpaid, and unrecorded. could woo almost anyone. The Duke only speaks of him in terms of his achievements and his valor; “Valiant Othello…” ( Act 1 Scene 3 Line 47). Chaos is the old concept of Hell, where everything is dreadful anguish, and Desdemona is the angel who has rescued Othello with her love. Visit BN.com to buy new and used textbooks, and check out our award-winning NOOK tablets and eReaders. Jealousy defines Othello and also the characters associated with his downfall. He is a general in the Venetian defense forces, and, although a foreigner from Africa, he has won this post by excellence in the field of war. When faced with the prospect of managing love and marriage, Othello's inexperience undermines his confidence. Removing #book# Like the Greek heroes, Othello can confront this fate only with the best of his humanity. He is even referred to as “the thick lips”. These include as an outsider, whether because he recognizes his exotic appeal Above all else, this Othello character analysis reveals that Shakespeare's Othello has gravitas.

Although Othello is a cultural and racial outsider in Venice, his skill as a soldier and leader is nevertheless valuable and necessary to the state, and he is an integral part of Venetian civic society. When other characters call him "black," they refer to his face but also to the concept of color symbolism in Elizabethan morality: White is honor, black is wickedness; white is innocence, black is guilt. duke about his friendship with Brabanzio. It is generally the morally dubious characters who use his race as a reason to disparage him. Character Analysis of Shakespeare's Othello. Are you sure you want to remove #bookConfirmation# Updated June 23, 2019 Above all else, this Othello character analysis reveals that Shakespeare's Othello has gravitas. He leads an intense life, swinging between triumph and dread. Othello cannot stand uncertainty; it drives him to destroy his sanity. In a way, he is waiting for the dream to come to an end, for Desdemona to decide that she has made a mistake in marrying him. in Act II, scene i; Othello will stand apart while Cassio and Iago ridiculous puppet. It is the tension between Othello’s victimization Although Othello is a cultural and racial outsider in assume that Cassio is dead without being present when the fight Iago’s hatred of Othello is profound; he does not employ him as his lieutenant and there is a suggestion that he bedded Emilia previous to his relationship with Desdemona. Othello is the main character in William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name, a well-respected Moorish general in the Venetian army. A celebrated soldier and trusted leader whose race both defines him “The Moor” and defies his lofty position; it would be rare for a man of race to have such a highly respected position in Venetian society. At the end of Act I, scene iii, Iago says he thinks Othello may have slept with his wife, Emilia: “It is thought abroad that ’twixt my sheets / He has done my office” (I.iii. While Othello is never rude in his speech, he does allow his eloquence for much of the first scene.

The speech that precedes his suicide is a tale that affects him. Othello would be very attractive to someone in Emilia’s position; he is very demonstrative in his love for Desdemona but sadly this turns sour and his character becomes more recognizable to Emilia as a result. His successful profession brings him high status in Venice, but his foreign origins and color separate him from those with whom he lives and works. The villain Iago from " Othello " is a central character, and understanding him is key to understanding Shakespeare's entire play. father loved me, oft invited me, / Still questioned me the story Emilia says to Desdemona of Othello “I would you had never seen him” (Act 5 Scene 1, Line 17) presumably this is out of love and loyalty to her friend as opposed to a lingering affection for him. He is different from those around him, due to his origins and his life history, but he shares their religion, values, and patriotism to Venice. He appoints a student of military knowledge, Cassio, to be his lieutenant. Although Othello appears On the field of battle Othello is skilled and triumphant; in the drawing room he is reluctant until Desdemona takes the lead and encourages him to tell his life story. horse” (I.i.113).