Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ is the study of how an apparently effective Venetian general, is skilfully controlled by the shrewd Iago, who by exploiting Othello’s insecurities changes his identity into an envious killer. At the start of the play, Othello’s identity is that of an assiduous black general who battled remarkably difficult to acquire regard in a white controlled society. In weding Desdemona, Othello adds to his identity by being a fan and partner and his identity is depicted to be interconnected to his love for Desdemona.
Iago is envious of Othello’s high standing and significantly respected identity and for that reason weakens Othello’s confidence in his better halves faithfulness and turns his identity into an illogical jealously. Shakespeare makes use of a variety of key techniques in ‘Othello,’ to suggest the extent of Othello’s identity changes. These modifications are effectively communicated to the audience through the contrast of Othello’s external appearance with his affable interior. They are more exhibited through the styles of love and jealously and through modifications in Othello’s language, as Othello’s self-confidence in Desdemona is gradually weakened.
In the first Act of the play, Othello’s identity is shaped by a variety of unfavorable images which promote the stereotype of the black African slave in a white dominated society. Although these images are not a real reflection of Othello’s identity, Shakespeare has very efficiently done this in order to highlight how Othello’s identity slowly changes throughout the play to reflect the initial images presented to the audience. In Act One, Othello is not once described by his actual name.
Rather, he is described as “he,” “him,” and the negative terms “thick-lips” and a “Barbary horse.” Shakespeare utilizes this method to establish Othello’s disappointing physical identity. Brabantio likewise describes Othello as a “sooty bosom,” whom his daughter Desdemona would never have actually accepted wed without using witch craft and magic beauties, “If she in chains of magic were not bound, whether a maid so tender, fair and happy, so opposite to marital relationship that she shunn ‘d. Contrastingly, Othello’s elevated status in Venetian society, reflected in his high naval position, demonstrates an identity that is considerably respected, so much so that not even the accusations of Brabantio affect his status. This is clearly shown when the duke states, “Your kid in law is much more reasonable than black,” hence representing that Othello’s black skin conceals a pleasant interior. Nevertheless, as Othello’s confidence in Desdemona is undermined, Othello is driven to the verge of madness and his identity begins to reflect the unfavorable images initially provided in the first act.
This is achieved through using imagery, in which Othello is compared to the devil, “And what pleasure shall she have to search the devil.” By the end of the play, Othello’s ‘blackness’ begins to show and his identity changes from a “War like moor,” to a man characterised by wrath and impracticality. In ‘Othello,’ love acts as a binding force between Othello and his better half Desdemona, and the initial impression depicted by Shakespeare to the audience is of Othello as a romantic who has total faith in his better half.
Othello’s identity is formed by his infatuation of Desdemona, “My soul hath her content so absolute that not another comfort like to this is successful in unidentified fate.” The link between Othello’s identity and his love for Desdemona is even more highlighted in, “But I do enjoy thee; and when I like thee not, Mayhem is come again.” Nevertheless as Iago’s manipulative plan takes shape, Othello grows insecure about his relationship and he begins to question why he wed, “Why did I wed? Othello changes from a confident, in control, self-assured male into a skeptical man compromised by his love for Desdemona. His partners expected adultery leaves Othello a tormented broken guy who is unable to go on living. Jealously is the most corrupting and devastating of feelings, which when instilled in Othello, drives him to insanity and causes significant changes to his identity throughout the play. Initially, Othello declares not to be a jealous man, “Do you think I ‘d make a life of jealousy, to follow still the changes of the moon with fresh suspicions? He has a “free and open nature,” and this exceptional vulnerability enables Iago to control Othello’s relying on character and twist his love for Desdemona, into an effective and damaging jealousy, “O beware, my lord, of jealously: It is the green eyed beast which doth mock the meat it feeds upon.” As quickly as Iago launches his misleading strategy and jealously is awakened within Othello, it ends up being so self-intensifying that he is taken over by an unmanageable impracticality and his ability to make coherent decisions is over-ridded.
Othello’s identity is transformed from a self-assured man into an envious personality and this is sealed in, “Trifles light as air, are to the jealous confirmations, strong as proofs of holy writ. There is a considerable change in identity, “The Moor already alters with my poison,” from a smart, sensible person, to one characterised by jealously. A distinct change in Othello’s language is used to show how Othello’s identity modifications significantly throughout the course of the play.
The identity of Othello is carefully lined up to his marriage with Desdemona and he feels that his status in society has actually been elevated since he is a black man married to a high class Venetian females. As Othello’s marriage is demoralised, Othello’s identity goes through modification and these changes are highly emphasized through Othello’s choice of language. At first, Othello is an idealist and romantic who generally speaks in verse throughout the play, “It offers me wonder great as my content to see you here before me.” His language is quixotic and heightened conveying a caring personality; one profoundly related to his growing marital relationship.
Nevertheless, once Othello is warned of Desdemona’s ‘extramarital relations,’ their relationship is put under enormous strain and Othello grows significantly stressed, baffled and angry. This is reflected in a modification in language, which moves from courteous and significant at the start of the play, to aggressive and exceedingly visual, “I’ll tear her to pieces.” This change in language depicts a character modification, from a gentleman, to a violent and belligerent person. By the end of the play Othello’s identity change is so considerable, he is unrecognisable, “My lord is not my lord. Othello is no longer the guy he utilized to be. Shakespeare successfully communicates modifications to Othello’s identity throughout the course of the play through the contrast of his outwards appearance with his pleasant inner identity. His identity changes are even more boosted by the accentuation of the bond between himself and his spouse and the disastrous effects the weakening of this bond has on him. The harmful force of jealously and Othello’s naive view on marriage are furthermore utilized to show how Othello moves from a positive, strong and highly regarded naval officer to someone entirely broken by his love of another.