Othello’s Downfall: a Victim of Himself
Othello’s Downfall: A Victim of Himself In William Shakespeare’s play Othello, it seems as though the fall of the cherished Lieutenant Othello derived from the devious Iago and his guilty prepare for Othello’s death. In the beginning look, this concept is the popular discourse of the play with a variety of instances where Iago is seen plotting the death and damage of Othello and the conclusion of Othello eventually taking his own life.
However, on another level, one could argue that Othello’s failure was not the effect of Iago but, in reality, it is the outcome of his own character defects enhanced by Iago juxtaposed with his absence of judgment in the receivers of his trust. The start of Othello’s failure is marked by his own lack of self-esteem and low insecurities. His identity shifts among being “the Moor” and the Venetian war lord that he visualizes himself. He is viewed as exotic-natured, instantly setting him apart from his fellow associates and even his better half, Desdemona.
His “blackness” sets him apart right away and is so fundamental in nature that he can not change that part of his otherwise opaque identity. This failure to comply with the social standards of full approval leads Othello to question his own identity. “Othello’s blackness is not only a mark of his physical alienation but a symbol, to which every character in the play, himself included, need to respond.” (Berry 319) This symbol forms Othello’s perspective of himself. Due to the fact that of his rigorous adherence to this sign, Othello kinds his own stereotype and clings to it desperately.
This hinders him greatly in growth, as a strong leader and as a trusting partner. This stereotype is filled with racism and underlying subtle remarks made by the people closest to him. Brabantio, Desdemona’s dad, upon hearing of his child’s elopement to Othello, instantly states upon Othello’s unique nature and makes bad remarks in concerns to Othello’s apparent race: Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom Of such a thing as thou– to fear, not to pleasure. Judge m the world if’t is not gross in sense That thou hast practiced on her with foul beauties, Abused her delicate youth with drugs or minerals
That damage motion. I’ll have’t challenged on; ‘T is probable and palpable to believing. I therefore collar and do attach thee For an abuser of the world, a practicer Of arts inhibited and out of warrant. (I. ii. 71-80) Although Brabantio appreciated Othello, he admired the General Othello not the Othello, husband of his precious child. Right away, Brabantio casts doubt on Othello’s ancestry and race, accusing him of using magic and magic on his child. Othello envelops this racism and the stereotype that is formed because of this accepting, grows. This growth also signifies a foreshadowing of what is to come.
Othello’s self image continuously changes based upon what company he keeps. He does not have power over its changing face and when an unfavorable force appears, its image quivers significantly. This image modifications once again in relation to Othello’s military career. In the military, Othello is portrayed as strong, commercial leader. He has an enthusiastic love for the military, even comparable to the love that he shares with his spouse, Desdemona. Although he is a strong, independent leader, he lacks a discipline in his abilities to successfully distinguish his feelings from one strong element in his life (military) which of real love (Desdemona).
This inability to welcome both the military and his spouse is another character defect that Othello does not seem to get over. On one spectrum, the military offers everything that Othello desires. His identity in the armed force is one of greatness– his success, his qualities, his nobility. He is well versed in the language of the armed force. This strong feeling– love– is, in and of itself, a manipulator all of its own. Combined with Iago’s understanding of how to convince Othello’s choices, the emotion gotten in touch with military holds partial blame in Othello’s downfall. Strong feelings hold Othello’s heart in the realm of his partner, Desdemona.
Othello’s lack of experience with other females and Desdemona’s persuasive nature draw upon Othello’s lack of character judgment. In his debate with Desdemona’s dad, Othello even tells of her persuasive nature. Whereof by parcels she had actually something heard, However not intentively. I did consent, And often did beguile her of her tears, When I did mention some distressful stroke That my youth suffered. My story being done, She gave me for my pains a world of sighs. (I. ii. 156-161) Othello accepts Desdemona’s persuasive nature and, acting upon another defect of character, relinquishes his military profession to her care. [A quality of Othello and Desdemona’s love] is Othello’s apparently outright and unshakeable rely on Desdemona; he demonstrates this … by putting his occupation and life in her hands.” (Amon 29) To Othello, it is quite easy to put his rely on someone– an outcome of an innocent naivety. When Iago initially plants the seed of doubt worrying Desdemona’s extramarital relations, Othello, with a miniscule amount of resistance, accepts this as reality without even any proof or proof. “And Desdemona, Iago mentions, might be no better than the others.
His syllogism is basic and legitimate: Venetian ladies are not to be trusted; Desdemona is not to be trusted. Since Iago is Venetian, Othello needs to take his word for it and accept his significant property; he understands the minor facility holds true; therefore he is required, with the assistance of Iago’s important thrusts at Desdemona, to the unavoidable conclusion.” (Stempel 260) Othello permits Iago to choose for him what he should think about his own wife. In spite of his aggressive military demeanor, Othello permits both Desdemona– in her actions of love– and Iago– in his ability to persuade Othello of fallacies– to take dominance over him.
Iago has the ability to easily manipulate Othello’s credible nature by once again informing him of Desdemona’s expected affair with Cassio: I would not have your complimentary and noble nature Out of self-bounty be abused, aim to’t: I know our country disposition well; In Venice they do let God see the pranks They dare not show their husbands: their finest Conscience. Is not to leave reversed, but keep unknown. OTHELLO. Dost thou say so? IAGO. She did deceive her father, weding you; And when she seem ‘d to shake and fear your appearances, She lov ‘d them most. (III. iii. 203-212)
Here, Iago attract all of Othello’s character flaws. Iago uplifts Othello’s self-esteem by matching his nature; he contributes to Othello’s doubt of Desdemoa’s loyalty by raising her deceptiveness against her father. Finally, Iago also recommendations Othello’s race by reminding him of how Desdemona was once afraid of his external appearance. These three factors credit to Othello’s ultimate approval of his other half’s affair. “Othello withstands the subject of jealousy, but Iago develops a subtopic of the Cassio-Desdemona relationship: Othello needs to watch Desdemona, especially with Cassio.
Iago laces this subject with what he requires, or pretends to require, popular in Venice. Othello is decreased to agreeing.” (Rudanko 49) Othello’s approval of Iago’s lie about Desdemona sets the turn for the second half of Othello. Othello’s character (and all its defects) starts to alter and from this change emerges the raw identity that is Othello. Where Othello had actually as soon as been soft-spoken and trusting, he is now violently filled with such strong feelings, that his actions all seem to possess a raw edge: By the world, I think my spouse be honest and believe she is not; I believe that thou art simply and think thou are not.
I’ll have some evidence. My name, that was as fresh As Dian’s visage, is now begrimed and black As mine own face. If there be cords, or knives, Poison, or fire, or suffocating streams, I’ll not sustain it. Would I were pleased! (III. iii. 400-406) In this passage, Othello also references those same character flaws. He points out how he believed his better half to be devoted and faithful but that he has doubt; he questions his trust in Iago. He also exposes his feelings about his race, comparing himself to the Devil (“Dian”) and how the “visage is now begrimed and black/As mine own face. This spiraling wave of feeling and struggle with what holds true and what is false is the ultimate breaking point for the as soon as noble and just Othello. He allows his feelings to take over, clouding all moral and logical judgment. He as soon as again follows Iago’s recommendation of how to murder Desdemona without any other idea, even embracing Iago’s comments about Othello’s race that Othello immediately accepts. “This is the crux of Othello’s fall, and his union with Iago’s world of blood desire follows immediately.
He thinks that Desdemona can not be true due to the fact that he ends up being convinced that he himself is unlovable and, thinking that, he also ends up being convinced that Desdemona’s manifest attraction to him is itself perverse, a ‘proof’ of her corruption.” (Kirsch 67) After he comes to this conclusion, Othello strangles Desdemona, in spite of her claim to innocence. Shortly afterward, after the location of the handkerchief is revealed and the actions behind its taking are discussed, the raw, violently passionate emotions that had actually engulfed Othello’s thoughts and actions diminish.
He understands the immensity of what he had done and he collapses and dies by his faithful Desdemona. Although it seemed as though Iago was the real villain behind Othello’s downfall, it is made apparent in the mere fact that Iago just simply played Othello’s already problematic nature. Othello’s problematic nature is the very essence behind his failure and his own absence of self-awareness and discipline cause his judgment and actions to be skewed. Othello is a tragic hero– a hero that was defeated not by others, however by his own real identity.