And Desdemona, Or Is He Merely The Catalyst Essay, Research Paper
The Shakespeare Tragedy, Othello, was written and set during
the early 17th century Venice rule.?
The play is set in Cyprus and Venice.?
There are many arguments whether Iago causes the tragedy towards the end
of the play, or whether he is merely the catalyst. To many, Iago is the most evil character in the play.? He is blamed for the tragedy of Othello and
Desdemona.? However, some do not see him
as the cause of the tragedy, but merely as a catalyst, who speeds up the rate
of the fate of Othello and Desdemona.?
This can be argued, despite there being more in favour of Iago causing
the tragedy, rather than him only being a catalyst.One factor in favour of Iago causing the tragedy is
projected throughout the play.? This
factor is the hatred that Iago has for Othello.? Although he never directly tells his motive for hating Othello,
there is definite hatred throughout the play.?
Iago repeatedly says in soliloquy:?I hate the moor?
(page 25, line 397) One motive for the hatred to Othello could be because of
Othello’s colour and race.? Othello is obviously black, and throughout
the play, Iago refers to othello using racist names.?The Moor? (page 4, line140) ?The Devil? (page 6, line 92) ? Iago hates Othello so much, that he reduces him to an
animal.? These are great insults. ?Black ram? (page 6,
line 89) ?Barbary Horse? (page
7, line 112) As well as Iago?s racism, most of the characters make racist
comments and say racist names towards Othello in the play.? The majority of the characters refer to
Othello as ?The Moor?.? In addition to
this, some characters say yet more insulting names.? Roderigo refers to Othello as: ?The Thick Lips?
(page 5, line 67) All these insults show a slight trace of hatred towards
Othello.? This hatred is not only from
Iago, but is shared by most characters, which is shown by the insults.Iago is very power hungry.?
He wanted the power of being a lieutenant that Cassio was given by
Othello.? Iago feels he should get this
power, therefore wants to eliminate Cassio, and so wants to get revenge on
Othello.Throughout the play, Iago attempts to destroy the marriage
of Othello and Desdemona.? He does this
in many ways. The most direct way of doing this is suggesting to and making
Othello believe that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio.?? This is untrue, but Othello eventually
believes it.? Othello has a slight bit
of doubt in his mind, and so asks for evidence, which Iago gives to him: a
stolen handkerchief.? Iago is also very crafty.?
He plants suspicion into Othello?s mind. He does this in many ways.? One of the very cleaver ways makes Othello
suspicious is in act 3, scene 3.?Ha! I like not that?
(page 54, line 35) This is a very cleaver and shy way that Iago makes Othello
suspicious.? He is saying that so that
it sounds like he is saying it to himself, when he is actually saying it loud
enough for Othello to hear it and make a bog deal out of it.? This is when Cassio is talking to Desdemona.Another cleaver and sly way that Iago makes Othello
suspicious is in the same scene.? He
says:?Cassio my lord? No,
sure, I cannot think it that he would sneak
away so guilty-like Seeing you come?
(page 54, lines 38 ? 40) Iago is saying this to Othello, following the leave of
Cassio.? Othello did not state that he
was suspecting Cassio would sneak away.?
Instead, Iago ?plants? this thought into Iago?s mind.? This whole suspicion adds to the facts that
are in favour of Iago causing the tragedy of Othello and Desdemona.In act 3, scene 3, Othello asks for Iago to find evidence
that asks for Iago to find evidence that Cassio is having an affair with
Desdemona.? Iago knows exactly what to
show, so he steals a handkerchief that was given to Desdemona from Othello.? Iago steals this handkerchief, and plants it
in Cassio?s chambers.? Cassio finds this
handkerchief, and gives it to Bianca.?
Othello sees this and then starts to actually have doubt in his mind
about Desdemona being a whore.Another very cleaver act that Iago performs, that leads to
the tragedy of Othello and Desdemona. Is by manipulating a conversation that he
has with Cassio. Othello is in hiding at this time.? Iago makes it out that they are talking about Desdemona, when in
fact they are talking about Bianca.?
Othello sees this the wrong way, and puts great doubt in him mind about
Desdemona.? All these so far prove that Iago caused the tragedy.? However, there are many factors, which are
in favour of Iago being a catalyst, and only speeds up the rate at which the
tragedy would have happened.? Being a
catalyst, he is not to blame but only set things in motion.The main points towards Iago acting as a catalyst, is the
distrust and suspicion that Othello has for Desdemona.? Iago just backs up his suspicion.? Brabantio has put a lot of suspicion into
Othello?s mind from act 1.? It is in the
Beginning of the play, in a courthouse.?
Brabantio is warning Othello:?She has deceived her
father, and may thee? (page 23, line 210) This is a warning to Othello, stating that Desdemona has
deceived Brabantio, her father, and may deceive Othello.? This puts major suspicion into Othello’s
mind. This shows that Othello is gullible to a certain extent.Othello does not trust Desdemona enough.? Neither does he listen to her at any time,
as does he not listen to her before he kills her.? Throughout the play, Othello only listens to Iago, and his
opinions.? ?Honest Iago?Othello always refers to Iago as this.? There is an irony to this, because Iago is
the only dishonest character in the play.?
Before Othello kills Desdemona, his mind is already made up.? ?Peace and be
still?? (page 108, line 45) You could also say that Othello is gullible.? He easily believes Iago.? This could be his weak point, and makes him
an easy target for Iago.? Othello easily
believes Iago, and hardly ever questions him.?
Othello also jumps to conclusions very easily.? He listens to Iago?s statements, and straight away jumps to the
conclusion that Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio.? He does not question anyone. ?Dost thou say so??
(Page 59, line 204) This quote shows that he just questions Iago whether he
thinks that Desdemona is having an affair or not.? ?I am bound to thee
forever? (page 59, line 211) This quote shows that Othello believes Iago.? Othello feels that he owes Iago for helping
him with his marriage.? If Othello did
not have any suspicion towards Desdemona, he would not listen to what anyone
has to say, but would follow his own judgement.In conclusion, a final answer whether Iago is a catalyst or
causes the tragedy will never be found.?
Different opinions have different answers, and so either of the answers
is right, and neither is wrong.? I
suggest that there is a little bit of both in the play.? He acts as a catalyst, as well as causing
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