Reputations In Othello Essay, Research Paper
Reputations of the main characters and its role in Othello
In the play Othello written by William Shakespeare, the theme of reputation was a very important part of what made the play tragic. Reputation was so important in the play that it could have gave insight to characters or allowed characters to have manipulated others and it allowed for the tragedy of Othello to have been unfolded. Reputation of characters was an important factor for all the characters in Othello but reputation was most important for Iago, Othello and Cassio. When Shakespeare wrote Othello he intended for the reader to have scrutinized the theme of reputation so the reader could have understood where characters and the plot of the story had developed from.
Reputation played an important role in how the reader was meant to have perceived the characters of the play. Iago had a flawless reputation, he was considered so loyal and compassionate he was known throughout most of the novel as ?honest?(II.iii.329) Iago. Iago is regarded as a close companion of Othello as well as Cassio, and Iago had a deep hate for both of these men and knew his reputation could help him get his revenge on them. Iago understood that reputation played such a big part in how people saw a person, that based on his reputation he could have became a two faced adversary without a problem. Iago proved the point of a reputation?s importance when wanted to leave Roderigo in act one, because if Iago stayed it would look this Iago was a traitor to Othello and this would flaw his reputation. Iago explained why he must leave by his statement, ?Though I do hate him as I do hell pains, Yet for necessity of present life I must show out a flag and sign of love?(I. i.159-161). When Iago stated this he proved reputation was extremly important because it showed how his departure from the scene and keeping his reputation he could work the inside track for himself and Roderigo. Iago?s repuatation allowed him to be twofaced and this gave him certain advantages otherwise not available to him. If reputation was not so important Iago would not have been so highly revered by many people, and if Iago was not a revered person his motives may have been discovered earlier in the play. The reputation of the antagonist of the play was not the only reputation important to the play but the tragic hero?s and the catalyst?s reputation also played an important role to the play.
Othello the tragic hero of this play had a reputation that helped him raise himself up in society. Othello?s reputation served several purposes throughout the play, first it proved he was a good and noble person, secondly it won Desdemona over for him and lastly it helped him stay out of trouble because of his esteemed position in society. Othello?s reputation saves him from the confrontation with Barbantio as well as won him a wife. Othello proved this when he was confronted with stealing Desdemona away from Barbantio and the Duke and the senators listened to Othello when he stated, ?She loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I have used?(I.iii.166-169). Othello told the senators this to show Desdemona was won over based solely on Othello?s reputation and his history. The Duke and senators appear to judge Othello less harshly when they give their opinions on the situation because Othello?s reputation makes him out to be a hero and loyal solider that is well respected This example is clearly shown when Barbantio first said, ?For nature so preposterously to err,?(I.iii.64) by this he means nature?s error in mixing light and dark skinned people. We can see how the senators and the Duke quickly changed their mind when they first stated, ?And you of her, the bloody book of the law,?(I.iii.63) they the Duke said, ?What, in your own part, can you say to this??(I.iii.76). Othello gets the ability to have a say in front of the council because of his reputation if Othello was another dark skinned person who knows what would have happened to him. In Othello?s case his reputation works for him because he gets Desdemona due to his reputation and he escapes punishment from the Duke and council because of his reputation. Othello?s reputation works for him in a good way and for good purposes unlike Iago whose reputation allows him to achieve evil deeds. The last character Shakespeare wanted the reader to examine was Cassio the catalyst of the tragedy in this play.
Cassio the reason for all the superficial problems in the novel has his reputation originally helping him and then it damages him as well as several other characters in the end. Cassio had a good reputation at the beginning of the play and this is shown because he is given the job of lieutenant from Othello over Iago, this proves although Iago is honest and loyal Cassio is still more revered then he is. On the other hand, as the play preceded Cassio was viewed very differently by the populous due mostly to Iago. Iago did several things to damage Cassio reputation during the play this is shown when he stated, ? ?Tis to his virtue a just equinox,?(II.iii.118) and we he said to Othello, ?Or to be naked with her friend in bed?(IIII.i.6). Iago?s first goal is to destroy Cassio?s image among his men and he does so when he stated to Montano he felt Cassio had bad virtues and a drinking problem, and when he set Cassio up to get in a fight. Once Iago had successfully destroyed Cassio?s reputation among many of the men he next had to get his revenge by having Othello doubt Cassio and himself. Iago accomplishes his second act flawlessly by his ability to have Othello believe he was sleeping with Desdemona. Now Cassio?s once helpful reputation has destroyed him publicly and he made Cassio look like an adulterer in Othello?s eyes and that makes Othello perceive Cassio as a backstabbing friend. Cassio?s reputation was unlike either of the two main character?s reputations his reputation originally follows the path of Othello?s an honest one but is changed by rumor and therefore causes the end to Iago, Othello and Desdemona.
In Othello reputations are so important that whole lives can be based on them, in Othello?s case his whole life is based around his reputation as a noble person, Iago bases everything he does around the fact that he is seen one way but acts another and Cassio?s reputation allows him to move up in the world, and it also causes the death of several characters in the play. Since reputation had such an important role in the play Shakespeare made sure to put extra emphasis on it, this emphasis allowed for reader?s to better understand characters but it is also important because the character?s reputations effected hot the plot developed. In William Shakespeare?s Othello reputations developed characters and the plot and that is the reason for such emphasis on the reputation of characters in the play.