Othello Character Essay
Othello Character Essay In the play, Othello, by William Shakespeare, Othello is a general in the Venetian army, who also happens to be black and of Muslim descent, although he is a converted Christian.From the beginning of the play, Othello is victimized and characterized as an outcast in Venetian society.Throughout the play, Othello is mistreated and betrayed, despite his vast amount of love and trust for his friends or supposed friends.
Othello is obviously the most repeatedly and most brutally victimized in the play by Iago, among others.
Right from the first scene of the play he is not given the dignity of a name, rather called by racial slurs such as “The Moor” (1. i. 63), “The Thick Lips” (1. i. 72) “Black Ram” (1. i. 97) and a “Barbary Horse” (1. i. 125). These blatantly disrespectful terms are used by both Roderigo and Iago, who is considered one of Othello’s close acquaintances. This shows the obvious lack of honor and respect shown by his so-called ‘friends’. Another example of Iago’s and other’s mistreatment of Othello comes in Act 2 Scene 3 between lines 235 to 261 where Iago lies straight to Othello’s face about what had transpired.
This shows that Iago can and will completely disregard Othello’s superiority and honesty and lie about what had happened and about his direct involvement in the fight. This leads to another example of Iago’s disregard for Othello’s authority and lack of trust in Othello’s decisionmaking as he tries to get Cassio to lose his lieutenancy. Another example of Iago victimizing Othello occurs in the very beginning of ‘The Temptation Scene’, Act 3, Scene 3. It happens in lines 40-47. Iago subtly plants a seed of doubt in Othello’s mind about Desdemona and Cassio’s relationship, and Cassio’s attitude towards Othello.
This is a very interesting part of the play because it is one of Iago’s most obvious observations intended to prod Othello’s jealousy. It also shows his ability to intentionally take advantage of his friends weaknesses, in this instance, Othello’s deep trust in Iago’s word and his jealousy surrounding Desdemona. A different example of Othello’s misguided jealousy and mistrust, placed in his head by Iago is the majority of Act 3, Scene 4, wherein Othello pressures Desdemona about his handkerchief.
This is important because Desdemona unknowingly played right into Iago’s plan by semi-ignoring Othello’s unrest to try to talk to him about Cassio, which angers Othello even more and adds to the envious thoughts already brewing in his head. All of these examples are instances of Iago’s ability to play on Othello’s emotions and feelings, leading to Othello becoming blinded by his own jealousy and rage. Othello is easily the most victimized in the play, tricked and beguiled away from his true thoughts by Iago’s lies and deception.