Othello (Greed=Destruction) Essay, Research Paper
Thematic Premise-Greed, usually in the form of an obsession for money and power, often leads to a loss of personal values, sense of self, and even life.
(Working) Theme Statement for Lit#1-If there is an obsession or a great amount of greed for money, power or love, then as a result there is a risk of losing personal values, a sense of self, and possibly life.
When the fantasies and desires of a person turn into an obsession or an excess of greed of whatever it is he wants, usually it will drive a person to do extreme and unrational things hat he wouldn t normally do. This greed often causes him to lose his sense of morals, his sense of self or possibly even his life. In Shakespeare s play, The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, Othello loses control of his rational and sensible thinking as he is tormented by taunting lies from Iago of his loved one cheating on him. Also, Iago s obsession for power and control cause him to lie and trick Othello into questioning his wife s love. If Othello weren t obsessed with his love for Desdemona his mind would not unravel so easily. If Iago weren t so obsessed with power and control than he wouldn t have to result to lies and deception. Both of these characters have been driven to act in unrational ways because of their obsessions.
In the beginning of the play Othello is considered a noble, reasonable man who can stay calm and keep his head in difficult situations. At one point in the play, Brabantio, as well as a number of other guards confront Othello, armed and ready to attack on charges that Othello has tricked Brabantio s daughter into marrying him. Othello is known to be a worthy opponent on the battlefield but instead of making a physical confrontation with Brabantio and his men, Othello goes freely to calmly talk about and debate over the charges set against him. Othello has proven his level headedness on the battlefield as well as in uncomfortable situations of debate but when it comes to Desdemona, Othello s true love, he is unable to keep control of his levelheadedness.
Othello has fallen deep in love with Desdemona and seems to trust her in the beginning of their marriage, but as he begins to feel pressure from a friend (Iago) who is believed to be trustworthy that she is cheating, he begins to lose his sensibleness and impulsively gets upset. The Othello from the beginning of the play would simply ask Desdemona if he felt suspicious of her acts but his Obsession over her has changed him and makes him too upset to act sensibly. Othello begins to act distant and rude to Desdemona and she has no idea why. At one point Othello even strikes her in front of a crowd, which is unlike his reputation. Desdemona can see Othello is angry with her but she does not know why. Desdemona: My lord? Othello: I am glad to see you mad. Desdemona: Why, sweet Othello Othello: (Striking her) Devil!
(4, 1, 265-268) Othello is so upset he actually strikes Desdemona in front of Cypress Government officials.
Othello s love for Desdemona is actually so strong that her betrayal drives him to insanity and he results in killing her. Desdemona: O banish me, my lord, but kill me not! Othello: Down, strumpet! Desdemona: Kill me tomorrow, let me live tonight. Othello: Nay, if you strive Desdemona: but half an hour! Othello: Being done there is no pause. Desdemona: But while I say one prayer! Othello: It is too late. (he smothers her) (5, 2, 98-105) Her betrayal has pushed him to unrationable thinking and he has lost his sense of self over his great obsession.
Iago has also gotten himself consumed in greed, not for love like Othello but for power and control. Iago finds a sense of control very important. In the very beginning of the play Iago professes his hate for Othello, who is supposed to be a dear friend, merely because Iago was not given a position of lieutenancy. Because of this Iago vows to get even with Othello by manipulating his mind to believe his true love, Desdemona is cheating on him. Iago s greed for the power over people is causing him to be deceitful to even his closest friends.
Through out the play Iago lies constantly to Othello about Desdemona and Cassio (a good-looking man who has earned the lieutenant position) cheating. In one example Othello puts him on the spot for proof so Iago makes up a false story about Cassio talking in his sleep, which really makes Othello upset. Iago: One of this kind is Cassio. In sleep I heard him say Sweet Desdemona, let us be wary, let us hide our loves. (3, 3, 475-476) Iago s obsession for power is so great that he tries to completely destroy Othello s mind through lies.
Even though Iago is completely aware of his manipulations and his deceptions to Othello which has made Othello feel so harshly towards Desdemona he turns around and comforts her like a good friend would and innocently acts as if he has no idea what is going on. Emelia: he called he whore . A begger in his drink could not have laid such terms upon his callet. Iago: Why did he do so? Desdemona: I do not know. I am sure I am non such Iago: Do not weep. Do not weep! Alas the day! (4, 2, 141-145) Even though it is obvious that Desdemona is hurt by what is going on, Iago continues to sneakily deceive her as well as Othello. Other people s feelings and lives are of no consequence to Iago as he strives for power and control over Othello. Iago has lost his sense of morals though all his lies and possibly even lost who he really is in the process.
Both men are being consumed by an obsession of some sort. Othello because of his intense love, and Iago, because of his need for control. An excess amount of greed will often lead to the loss of self or the loss of personal values. It is obvious to see that both of these men have suffered the consequences of greed and have altered their lives for the worse