Othello Essay William Shakespeare’s Othello tells a story of the awful downfall of a male through jealousy and skepticism, influenced by the manipulative actions of another. Due to numerous changes within society gradually, it is inevitable that a large range of vital analyses and readings of the text will emerge. My individual interpretation of the play draws from the ideas of the traditional Aristotelian views of a disaster. An Aristotelian analysis concerns itself with whether Othello can be considered a real catastrophe.
The two primary principles which identify whether a text can be identified as a real tragedy include the plot and the characters. The first principle within an Aristotelian catastrophe includes the concept of a “intricate plot”. Aristotle classifies plots into 2 types; basic and complex. Aristotle defines an intricate plot as a plot which “… is accompanied by ‘recognition’ and ‘turnaround of objective’ …” This acknowledgment refers to a modification from ignorance to knowledge. This idea is represented within the play through Othello’s trust in Iago stating– “Iago is most honest. Nevertheless the principle of acknowledgment is revealed when Emilia exposes Iago and his wicked behaviors, resulting in the loss of Othello’s trust as Othello says– “I look down towards his feet …” A turnaround of objective describes the turning point where the lead character’s objectives are reversed ultimately leading to his or her death. This principle appears in the last scenes where Othello’s mind has been corrupted by the manipulative Iago which affects Othello’s intent on murdering Desdemona stating– “Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more males. However, as the play nears an end and Othello learns of the wicked behaviors of Iago, he grieves over the murder of his pure and innocent wife. Othello then commits suicide by stabbing himself, symbolising the turnaround of intention as he regretfully weeps– “O Desdemona, Desdemona! Dead!” The 2nd principle involves the characters and their functions within an Aristotelian tragedy. Aristotle specifies that “In an ideal disaster, characters will support the plot … and the protagonist should be renowned and prosperous, so his change of fortune can be from good to bad … Despite being embeded in a society where black guys were looked down upon, Othello is effectively categorised as the prominent and prosperous protagonist. As a worthy moor and other half to the young reasonable Desdemona, his fortune changes from excellent to bad as the play progresses. His mistrust in Desdemona leads him to killing her, hence losing something he liked so a lot. Aristotle also claims that “The protagonist will wrongly produce his own downfall– not because he is sinful or morally weak, but since he does not understand enough. This idea is likewise portrayed throughout the play. Othello’s downfall was not due to him being sinful or ethically weak, however since he simply did not understand enough. His promoting of Cassio led Iago to end up being jealous and eventually caused Othello’s failure. Due to his absence of knowledge, Othello likewise succumbed to Iago’s manipulative and shrewd nature causing his growing rely on Iago and the questioning of Desdemona’s loyalty. Also, another aspect of an Aristotelian tragedy is the term “hamartia”. Hamartia describes a weak point or an error or more typically as a tragic defect.
Othello’s hamartia is expressed clearly through the play. When Iago manipulates Othello into suspecting Desdemona of being unfaithful, his jealousy clouds his mind where it has actually come to the point where all he cares about is showing his partner of being unfaithful shouting– “Bad guy, make sure thou show my love a slut!” The Aristotelian reading concentrates on evaluating the function of the lead character and their tragic flaw as well as the acknowledgment and turnaround of intent within a complex plot. Othello successfully includes the aspects of an Aristotelian tragedy.
However, this reading does not analyse social status of characters or the social context, and thus a more contemporary interpretation such as the feminist reading might prove more pertinent. The feminist reading highlights and checks out the roles of women and guys in the text. Since the play was composed throughout the Elizabethan times, there are lots of aspects of Othello that may appear as sexist from a contemporary view. A feminist reading of Othello centralises on evaluating the female characters within the play– more specifically, Desdemona and Emilia.
Women within the play were viewed as items or ownerships as seen when Iago alerts Brabantio– “Want to your home, your child, your bags!” Iago is seen as acquainting females with mere ownerships. It is also evident that ladies were seen as being lower-class by observing their functions in their society. The guys all have extremely ranked tasks such as the Moor and the Senators whereas the ladies were limited to courtesans and servants. The stereotypical submissive nature of ladies is depicted through the character Desdemona.
However, at the start of the play, she is seen to oppose her dad and speak easily of her love with Othello stating– “So much I challenge that I may proclaim Due to the Moor my lord.” Nearing the end of the play where Othello is preparing to murder his partner, Desdemona’s weakness is portrayed as she advocates her life– “Then Lord have grace on me!” This scene likewise reflects the dominance and control that males have over females, as Desdemona is seen as being helpless and weak whilst being strangled in her own bed.
However, as we evaluate Emilia, we can observe a completely various character. Although throughout the Elizabethan times, women had no voice, Emilia is seen to speak out of oppression many times throughout the play, primarily nearing completion. Emilia is seen to speak up versus males accusing them of simply utilizing females– “They are all but stomachs, and all of us however food; They consume us hungerly, and when they are complete, They belch us.” Emilia likewise attempts to make an idea that women amount to guys as she talks to Desdemona– “Let partners understand, Their better halves have sense like them. Emilia’s brave efforts to speak out versus injustice are also evident within the final scene, where she speaks up versus her other half, outing him for the evils that he has actually enacted. However, the stereotyped weak point of ladies is yet once again represented in the play when Iago eliminates Emilia with ease to silence her. The feminist reading of Othello concentrates on the representation of primarily the women. Therefore, feminist readings are a lot more appropriately pertinent to old texts such as Othello where the social context is substantially various to that of today.
The Aristotelian and feminist reading of Othello have considerable differences, and with different readings come various meanings. New readings and interpretations will constantly emerge due to the change in context throughout history, as seen in the feminist reading– where they evaluate the portrayal of mainly the females whereas the older Aristotelian reading is worried about defining Othello as a true tragedy according to its criterion. With our ever-changing society, the context of the world will alter often and thus much more interpretations and readings will form with time.