Character Flaws In Othello Essay, Research Paper
The play of Othello is like you are pushing a huge boulder up a steep mountain, and then it finally reaches the top, and it goes down the other side, and nothing can stop it. This is how I see the action in Othello. Iago spends the whole time plotting, and conspiring with the audience, and then he finally pushes Othello over the edge. Iago manages this in several ways, through imagery, sewing the seed in Othello s mind, and reverse psychology. However all of these ways boil down to one thing, Iago, throughout the play, plays on Othello s own insecurities about race, and Desdemona.
Iago s language throughout the play is very rich and amazingly descriptive so much so that it actually acts as a projector, projecting vivid, clear pictures into the audience s, and more importantly, Othello s mind. Iago s speech, in Act 3 scene 3, is where the one of the richest images is created. He is describing a night through which he lay with Cassio, and witnessed a so-called dream. In this dream, Cassio is meant to have said, Sweet Desdemona let us be wary, let us hide our loves. He then goes on to describe how Cassio began to kiss Iago, and laid his leg over my thigh. This imagery is so strong because it places Iago in Desdemona s position, and which somehow makes it more real. Also, the tale suggests that Cassio and Desdemona have already slept with each other. However, the main point of this specific use of imagery, is that the image it creates is a homosexual one, which takes the image to a new level, and makes it even more disgusting to Othello.
Another method used by Iago is the suggestion of an event, or feeling, and then the denial. This covers his tracks, but very cleverly he knows that once an idea has been put into Othello s head, that no matter what Iago says, Othello will pursue that idea. Firstly he paints the picture of Cassio and Desdemona together, as I have already explained, but then he denies the value and truth of his story by saying, Nay, this was but his dream. He has sewn the idea into Othello s mind, and Iago knows that although this line was necessary to protect himself, it would have no effect on Othello s faith in his tale.
Similar to the previous method, Iago uses a little reverse psychology in this scene. A clear example of this is toward the very end of the scene. Iago and Othello are discussing the murder of Cassio, but then Iago says, but let her live, referring to Desdemona. They have not yet said anything about her, but that phrase will make Othello think about killing her, and will encourage him to do so. More examples of this are found earlier, when he first introduces the alleged adultery into the scene. He says, I see this hath a little dashed your spirits, and later, In faith, I fear it has. Iago is obviously right; Othello is much affected by Iago s news, but the fact that Iago points it out, twice, in a way makes Othello feel even worse. So one the outside, he seems caring, saying supportive, but really, he knows that what he is saying is making things worse.
However, all of these three methods are related to Iago s main, core target, Othello s own insecurities about his color and his relationship of his skin. An obvious example of this is Iago s speech in response to a previous line of Othello s, And yet, how nature erring from itself. What he means is that Desdemona s supposed adultery is very unnatural, and strange, and Iago appears to agree. However, what may seem Iago s attack on Desdemona, i.e. that she is strange and unnatural, is actually a backward attack on Othello and his color. He calls their relationship rank, foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural. We see the effects on Othello, of Iago s comments and speeches All through the play there have been comments about Othello in relation to race, and here he is finally swept away by them. When he is told about the handkerchief he reacts in a dramatic, violent storm of words and promises. Phrases such as Arise black vengeance, from hollow hell , and references to the Black Sea later on suggest racial undertones, and also the pairings of black and white to evil and good are more prevalent now than before in the play, and they come from Othello.
Iago wields a lot of power over Othello the whole of the action. He uses very clever methods of persuasion, but they all are subsidiaries of the same thing; Othello s own insecurities and doubt about his color and his relationship with his wife. Iago s brilliant cunning sees these insecurities and brings them out, using imagery, putting in ideas, and reverse psychology. None of these methods are inherently responsible for the persuasion of Othello, but they all have a part to play in the exposition and emphasis of Othello s insecurities and doubts.
Desdemona s main flaw is that she does what ever she is told to do. Though out the course of the play she is consistently subservient to the wishes of others, including her father, Othello, and Iago. It actually is the reason she dies, if she wanted to she could have put up more of a struggle when Othello tried to kill her, and summoned help.
Emilia s main flaw is that she had a problem separating loyalties. In the play she worked for her husband, but ironically she cuckolded him. During the course of the book she, like her husband, deceives her loyalty to Desdemona. Then at the end she sees the wrong in her judgement and tells everything.
I think that Iago s main flaw was that what he thought he wanted, he really didn t want. In the play you see him weaving his web of deceit, but besides getting Cassio out of office, you don t see any concrete reason why he wants to do all of this. Also I m not sure if he thinks what he is doing is actually his doing. Hence he doesn t bestow upon himself the blame of everyone s actions.
In “Othello, the character Iago is, at least in my point of view, the main and most interesting character. Iago is in virtually every scene in the play, and has his hands in almost all doings within the play. Iago is truly one of the greatest villans in literature. Iago is viewed by all in the play, with the possible exception of his wife, as an honest and trust worthy man, which could not be farther from the truth. Iago plays all the characters in the play like puppets. He plays Cassio into a confession of his dealings with Bianca to make it look like he is speaking about Desdemona, and into planting the handkerchief onto Cassio without making himself look suspicious. Iago also plays Roderigo into giving him money and leaving the picture so Iago can do his work, his greatest work was bringing Othello into killing his own wife without ever have Othello question his wife or anyone else. In closing this guy is a really smooth bad guy.