The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of Character Of Othello. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.
To be capable to note a change in the character of Othello we must look at his initial behaviour and how Shakespeare presents his personality. A Shakespearean tragedy consists of a ‘hero’s’ life and their downfall, which will ultimately lead to their death. For a character to become a hero he must be respected and noble, to do this Shakespeare creates scenes to raise Othello’s status. We expect to have a great deal of respect for the protagonist.
In another of Shakespeare’s Tragedies Macbeth, the protagonist’s status is raised similarly as they are both powerful generals whose success in battle make them respected by the audience because of their service to their country. This is shown in the first acts of both plays for example, King Duncan exclaims, “For brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name” and Othello is refeared to as “valiant moor” by the Duke. The fact that both of the protagonists are respected by people of a high status in the opening scenes is to create standards which the audience will expect to see throughout the remainder of the play.
It is significant that both Macbeth and Othello are soldiers because their pasts are referred to throughout both plays and have shaped who they are, which also contributes to their downfall. Othello’s status has been raised because in Act 1Scene 3 the duke is informed to send for his “trusty and most valiant servitor”, which is Othello. Moreover, the admiration we feel for Othello is created by that of his own behaviour alongside the behaviour of others towards him. Othello does not retaliate to Brabantio’s threats and says “were it my cue to fight, I should have known it.
Othello’s calm reaction, although he is a solider, who obviously can fight well, shows that he is an honourable and noble character. Similarly Othello’s status is also raised by the love he feels for Desdemona and how noble, he speaks of her: “I do love thee gentle Desdemona”, which shows that he is capable of loving to such an extent and doing a job with “all my heart” that he is an honourable character.
The language Othello uses before his demise is romantic and poetic; “These nine moons wasted. He mainly speaks in blank verse which is commonly used in Tragedy for high status characters, or low status characters when saying something of significance or morality. Shakespeare illustrates a change in Othello’s character in Act 4 Scene 1 by altering his language. He now speaks in prose, for example, “what then? ” This compared to his previous idiolect suggests to the audience that his character is weakened both mentally and morally and no longer deserves respect as a high status character.
During the opening scene of Act 4, Othello asks a lot of questions. This is unusual because Othello previously control and dominance oozed from his speeches. “Lie with her? Lie on her? We say lie on her when they belie her. Lie with her! … Handkerchief- confessions – handkerchief!… “Is’t possible? – confess? Handkerchief? O devil! ” Here Othello speaks confusedly and distractedly. He is clearly not in control of his senses. This change in language and behaviour brings attention to Othello’s altered character.
The large number of interrogative sentences shows Othello’s weakness and confusion whereas the number of exclamative sentences shows Othello’s raw emotion and distress. In previous situations when we have expected Othello to be distressed e. g. the confrontation with Brabantio explored above, he has acted calmly and rationally. Now he focuses on the words “lie” which could say that he is merely interested in the sexual acts at the supposed affair, rather than the lost love of his wife.
The Othello we saw at the beginning of the play suggests he would be more concerned with the love “my soul hath her content so absolute”. find where from However, it could be argued that Othello has always been a lustful creature with Desdemona because in act 1 Othello has just got out of the confrontation with Brabantio’s and has been told about a battle he must take part in, yet all he wants to do is consummate his marriage. “I have but an hour of love… to spend with thee. ” Terry Eagleton, in Nothing (1986) states that “Othello is not a play about sexual deviancy, but about the deviancy of sex.
This deviancy he speaks of could be represented as the shown by the previous quotations, and combined with the exhilarating elopement, the rapidity to his acceptance of the affair and the way he decides to kill her. It leads me to believe his actions are lust fuelled. I believe, lovers can forgive and love would not lead to murder, only the emotional passion caused by lust could lead a character to act so recklessly.
Lust or love, his feelings towards Desdemona are strong and this leads the way for Othello’s jealousy. A. C Bradley says, “Iago does not bring these warnings to a husband who had lived with a wife for months or years. I believe this suggests Iago knew of Othello’s lustful feelings towards Desdemona and played on the elopement, when they must not have known each other long, and used it as a weakness. Furthermore, “husband who had lived with a wife for months or years” would have known better and would not have been so easy to believe lies because there would have been love built within these years which I believe Othello and Desdemona lack. A. C Bradley says, “He [Othello] is quite free from introspection, and is not given to reflection.
Emotion excites his imagination, but it confuses and dulls his intellect. ” I agree with this because his emotions have begun to affect his mind. He now considers confrontations and bloodshed where previously he was calm and rational. It can also be said that Othello’s constant need for evidence of Desdemona’s unfaithfulness suggest that his rationality is attempting to break through his emotional state. However, this need for evidence fades away towards his demise. This could back up Bradley’s view, which is that his emotion only “dulls” his intellect but does not remove it completely.
Othello goes from demanding evidence and not believing without it, to barely mentioning or thinking rationally “how shall I kill her Iago”. The fact his is planning how to kill Desdemona suggests his intellect only “dulls” rather than removed completely. Othello, when asking Amelia for her opinion on Desdemona’s loyalty, does not listen to reason, which contradicts his previous rationality and shows a change in character.
Othello, at one of his most noble points in the play, said, “And passion, having my best judgment coiled assays to lead the way. This shows an immense amount of self control which makes it more shocking when he falls into a trance. However, this possibly hints that Othello is aware that he is labile to be manipulated. Or could just be dramatic irony because he is oblivious to the fact that Iago at that moment is trying to “coil” his “best judgment. ” Furthermore, Othello’s falling into a “trance” or “epilepsy” now pairs his new found weakness in character with his physical appearance. It shows although he is emotionally affected, he is now physically affected by Iago’s manipulations.
Looking back to his previously disciplined, self controlled character it is shocking and unexpected and this “trance” marks a point of change in character for Othello. When Iago says “breaks out to savage madness” this is acting as a marker-point to show that when he “breaks out” he will be plagued with “madness” like a “savage”. Also it could be a device used for foreboding the more extreme change in character which is yet to come. Othello’s use of “most bloody” 90 foreshadows the physical violence to come later in the play. In act 4 scene 1 Othello withdraws and listens to a conversation between Iago and Cassio.
The fact that Othello is ease-dropping shows a decline in moral standards. On waking from his fit, Othello’s ease-drops under the suggestion of Iago. “will you withdraw? ” the word “will” creates an illusion of Othello doing Iago a favour, yet Othello is following Iago’s plans. We expect Iago to be doing things for Othello because Othello is general and Iago works for him, this role reversal shows the power that Iago has over Othello and how Othello’s character has changed from strong, to easily manipulated. We begin to feel sympathy for Othello because we have witnessed Iago’s manipulation
Both Macbeth and Othello have the tragic flaws, pride and vanity, in these two tragedies an antagonist will capitalize on the vulnerabilities of both Othello and Macbeth. Lady Macbeth suggests that he’s lost his courage by asking if he wants to live like a “coward” and Iago taunts Othello with “good sir, be a man. ” I partly believe the change in character seen in Othello Act 4just the negative qualities of his character allowed to surface from the emotional strain of Iago’s manipulations. Traditionally Shakespearean tragedies have 5 Acts, the 5th act is expected to be the death of the protagonist and therefore dramatic.
Othello’s change in personality is visible here through his soliloquy. Othello again speaks in verse, this could be because of the way he is speaking, showing love towards Desdemona and using powerful philosophical imagery “when I have plucked thy rose, I cannot give it vital life again. ” Moreover, it could be seen that he is only speaking in verse because he has something of substance to say.
Either way Othello regains some status and idiolect. Meanwhile, he is separating himself from this deed his is doing, creating an almost split personality by referring to himself in the third person and as a dog. The circumcised dog, and smote him thus. ” This could to draw attention to the previous “valiant moor” and show a clear change in character. “During his soliloquy, Othello constantly repeats “tis the cause” which shows he is thinking somewhat rationally and this could suggest his previous character is breaking through, also he can never bring himself to name this “cause. ”
Ronald Draper, in Unholy alliance: Othello and Iago (1991), argues that “the Iago world of cynicism and sexual depravity has now become the world Othello’s imagination inhabits. I believe this is shown by the vulgar and crude language he uses towards women nearer the end of the play. By calling Desdemona a “callet” and Amelia a “bawd” he is almost mimicking Iago’s crude mannerisms. Also these women have no reason to be called these names so it is in Othello’s “imagination”. This shows the dramatic change in Othello’s character because in the beginning he and Iago were opposites, and now they have become so similar that Othello lives in Iago’s mind frame. The ultimate demise in character for a hero is to become the villain.