Persuasive Essay on Othello

Published: 2021-07-28
907 words
4 pages
8 min to read
George Washington University
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Tragedy in most of Shakespeares works involves the fall of the main hero or rather the main character in a story. The hero, in this case, experiences a challenge against an overwhelming fate whereby his failure would be viewed as noble such that he gains the moral victory against the forces that result in his destruction. Also, the hero may fall as a result of his undoing or the works of the gods or a blend of both. Either war, the hero falls in addition to the deaths of certain characters who become victims of circumstances. I am against Audens claim that Othello is a peculiar tragedy whereby Othello falls because of the manipulations of Iago. Othello falls because of his vulnerabilities which makes it easier for Iago to manipulate him. Iago was aware of Othellos insecurities and hence used them to cause his fall which makes Iago the villain rather than an individual who deserves respect.

In brief, in the first act of the play, Iago is seen engaged in an argument with Roderigo after Roderigo receives information that Othello has betrothed Desdemona. Desdemonas father, Brabantio also receives the news regarding the marriage and attempts to claim his daughter back from Othello. However, he accepts the marriage after he is informed on Othellos aristocracy. Othello is then sent to Cyprus to shield it from the attacking Turks. The second act of the play includes the reunion of Othello and Desdemona in Cyprus. In Cyprus, Iago influences Roderigo to engage in a fight with Cassio whereby Othello comes in and demotes Cassio from his authoritative position. Iago then uses the opportunity to execute his revenge. In the third act, Desdemona attempts to intervene for Cassio whereby she drops her scarf in the process. Iago takes the scarf and then uses Othello vulnerabilities to convince him that Cassio was in possession of Desdemonas scarf. In the fourth act of the play, Iago engages in discussion with Cassio about Bianca in which Othello assumes that they are talking about Desdemona; a set up was done by Iago. Iago then persuades Roderigo to assist him in killing Cassio for him to acquire Desdemona. In the last act, Iagos plans come to light whereby Othello discovers that Desdemona is innocent after killing her and then causes his death.

Iagos main aim is to seek revenge after Othello overlooks him on the position of the lieutenant whereby Othello names Cassio as the lieutenant and not him. He also views himself as worthy of the position when compared to Cassio. He states, (A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife), /That never set a squadron in the field" (Shakespeare Lines 19-22). Iago makes use of every opportunity that presents itself to ascertain Othellos fall. He uses Othellos vulnerabilities on his relationship with Desdemona in which he manages to convince Othello that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Iago states, Look to your wife, observe her well with Cassio/. Wear your eyes thus, not jealous nor secure, (Shakespeare Lines 202-203). Iagos desire for revenge also emanates from the belief that Othello engaged in a relationship with his wife, Emilia. He manages to manipulate Roderigo whereby he convinces him that he will assist him to get Desdemona. It can be perceived that Iago focuses on ensuring that Othello is insecure with his relationship. Iago states, And nothing can or shall content my soul/ Till I am evened with him, wife for wife, (Shakespeare Lines 302-303).

Iago succeeds in resulting in Othellos fall, but he does not benefit entirely from the process and hence cannot be viewed as a hero but instead a villain. One of his biggest failures is the plan to have both Roderigo and Cassio dead. Iago manages to influence Roderigo to fight with Cassio due to Roderigos intentions towards Desdemona. Iago states, whether he kill Cassio, / Or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, / Every way makes my gain:" (Shakespeare Lines 12-14). In other words, he cares less about who dies in the process with the view that regardless of who dies, he still benefits. If Cassio died, Iago would possibly acquire the lieutenant position, and if Roderigo died, Iago wouldnt be answerable to him on the jewels that he was supposed to give Desdemona on his behalf. However, neither of them dies. Iago also experiences more loss whereby he loses Roderigos trust and his wife in addition to being executed by Cassio after his plans are revealed. Therefore, Iago is a villain and hence does not gain any respect. Othello, on the other hand, becomes a victim of his insecurities.

As stated earlier, Iago was aware of Othellos insecurities and hence used them to cause his fall which makes Iago the villain rather than an individual who deserves respect. It can be perceived that that fall of Othello was as a result of his own doing whereby he was overwhelmed by insecurities which made him look down on himself. The internalization makes him doubt Desdemonas love and believes Iagos words which eventually result in his fall. Othello can be perceived to have believed that a person of his race was not capable of being loved and that he was unattractive. For him, the love that Desdemona had for him was corrupt and full of pretense by which after Iago becomes aware of his insecurities, he uses them to his advantage.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. Othello. 1st ed. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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