Analysis of William Shakespeares Tragedy Othello - Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1639 Words
Date:  2021-05-28

The essential capabilities for tragedy, as per Aristotle's definition, are: The hero must have "a high place," a rank or office, or title; he should "fall" from that place due to some "imperfection" in his character, and the occasions must bring a "purification," a "purging" to the audience and the hero's community. As to Shakespeare's play, Othello, the play is for sure a tragedy as per the definition above. The character Othello had a high place in the Venice military and was acclaimed for his military endeavors, yet he is not the highest-ranking individual in the play. The suicide of Othello is a method for "paying" for the flaw that leads to the killing of Desdemona. The unfortunate imperfection, desire, is exemplified in Iago and is improved to that degree since Othello was envious in light of false evidence.

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Thus, Othello comes to see love through Iago's eyes and not through Desdemona's- - these two characters speak to disguised components of Othello's character. He rejects his adoring and liberal self (Desdemona), that part of humanity which makes society conceivable, for the dull interests of his conceited personality (Iago). As such, it is seen that although at the beginning of the play Othello does not consider himself to be a jealous person, in the end, it is because of jealousy that he commits such a heinous act. This jealousy, although instigated by Iago, is also possible because of Othellos view of women, specifically his wife. He did not think he deserved her and mostly thought she was only with him because she must have had some flaw causing not to trust his wife.

Throughout the play, the themes of racism and gender biases are evident. Racism is majorly brought to light by the main character Othello as from the beginning of the play, despite his rank and accomplishments, he is viewed majorly as an outsider. As such, Othello is part of a society in which he does not belong thus constantly struggles to conform to the norms of the norms (Adenstedt, 119). Additionally, being the sole black man encompassed by white individuals, who were thought to be racially better at the time, makes him endeavor to make up for what is considered by the general public to be a need for him and this is the reason he steps up with regards to substantiate himself as a worthy general. It is because of this condition of segregation, and perspective of his racial way of life as undesirable, in which he exists that he builds up a profoundly established feeling of instability, which is the reason he is so effortlessly influenced by Iago's words (Bolis 98).

For the first few scenes of the play, Othello is portrayed clearly as an outsider. This aspect is brought to light Through such characters as Iago Roderigo and Brabantio who constantly refer to Othello as the Moor and his Moorship. Through such statements, racism is clear to the audience as such terms are utilized to notify that Othellos background is of non-aristocracy. I other instances, as Iago and Roderigo inform Brabantio of his daughters marriage to Othello, Iagos description of Othello is that of an animal. This description is evident from Iagos statement, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe (Act 1 Scene 1 Line 97). Iago goes further to state that your daughter covered with a Barbary horse (Act 1 Scene 1 Line 125), which further illustrates Iagos view of Othello not as a man but as a talking animal.

Brabantio, the father of Desdemona, Othello's significant other, too makes to a great degree biased comments against him, alluding to him as " O thou foul thief who has stolen his daughter (Act 1, Scene 2. Line 62) and furthermore says Desdemona has been " stolen from [him] and corrupted." (Act 1, Scene 3. Line 61.) He trusts that his daughter could just have married Othello through some cunning on his part. In this manner, the possibility of the general public's fear of mixing of races is seen here. Indeed, even in the positive perspective of Othello's character taken in the play, a racial inclination is viewed as alluding to him as "more fair than black" (Act 1, Scene 3. Line 291) is viewed as a compliment, as a dark shade of skin is viewed as negative.

In line with the theme of racism, the play also perpetuates the idea that black men contaminated the white people, more specifically the white women if they had sexual relations with them. This notion is further compounded by the fact that Othello, due to his desire to conform, coupled with his insecurities, starts to believe that he too has soiled his white wife, Desdemona. Also, Iago also goes as far as deeming Othello and Desdemonas relationship as unnatural, a phenomenon that goes against nature itself. Furthermore, the play investigates the profound supremacist attitude of the general public, and this bigotry is coordinated not towards Othello alone. The utilization of "Turk" as an affront by different characters in the play, from the enemy Iago to the hero Othello, since everything remote and savage is viewed as terrible and offending underlines this. In the period setting of the play, the Turk speaks to the " affirmed foe of the Christian." This use of the word Turk is unexpected as Othello uses this word insultingly as well, taking along these lines a bigot position, while himself being a subject of bigotry in the play (Adenstedt 121 ).

Another prevalent theme in the play is that of gender roles and stereotypes. Society's perspective of Othello's association with his better half, Desdemona, is viewed as being distorted. They think of it as an unnatural relationship, and some even contend to the degree that their sexual relationship is a demonstration of assault, by all the while declaring that ladies do not have sexual inclinations and that every single black man is a rapist. In this way, both race and sexual orientation suppositions are uncovered, and these contentions are separated by Othello and his better half's relationship. Desdemona goes astray from routine conduct and declares, " I did love the Moor to live with him." (Act 1, Scene 3. Line 249). The play can be viewed as managing sex predisposition as this is proved in the characters of the play in that there exists a pervasive suspicion that it is each married man's fate to be cuckolded by his better half (Bolis 107). This point is additionally fortified by the confidence in the psyche of the characters that sexual consistency is something not out of the ordinary of ladies, and this is the conspicuous talk in the general public. Othello's battle can be found in his at last entering the white patriarchal world he was against, done by having Desdemona.

Furthermore, women were seen as sexual possessions of the husband or possessions of the father in case the woman was not married. This notion is evident from the conversations of Iago and Cassio as they talk about Bianca. Also, Othello talks about Biancas reputation as a sexual object as he compares her sexual nature to that of Desdemona when she describes her as she gives it out that you shall marry her. I marry her! What? This is the monkeys own giving out (Act 4 Scene 1 Lines 115-127). This description by Othello also goes to show his point of view regarding his wifes whorish sexuality.

On the other hand, some of the men in the play have acquired some feminine traits thus becoming victims in their right. Such characteristics can be observed from such characters as Roderigo who has feelings for Othellos wife, Desdemona, however, lacks the confidence or masculine attribute to confess his love for her. Furthermore, the character is over refined and as a result becomes susceptible to Iagos manipulation tactics and is easily manipulated to do Iagos bidding. Also, women also have the misconception that they only exist to serve every whim of the men in their lives. Emilia makes this evident when she obtains Desdemonas handkerchief for Iago. This act could be misconstrued as a wife simply performing a favor for her husband. However, in her remark, What he will do with it Heaven knows, not I. I nothing but to please his fantasy (Act 3 Scene 3), it is evident that she does not know and does not care what Iago does with the handkerchief. This action further proves that she in a relationship where her sole purpose is to be used as Iago sees fit; she is not her person, rather she belongs to Iago, also further reinforcing the idea that women were only viewed as possessions of the husband.

In conclusion, the play can be related to the modern society the themes of gender biases and racism as portrayed in the play are unfortunately still a part of the present-day society. In the world, all over there have been numerous reported cases of racist activities, ranging from police brutality towards blacks and other minorities to whole nations going to war simply because a member of their race did not obtain a specific office. Also, gender biases are also as prevalent in the society as racism. Women are constantly having to fight for equal rights and be afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Even in todays advanced society, there are unfortunately many parts of the world that objectify and view women simply as sexual objects, and in several cases, such misconceptions have led to unfortunate cases of heinous crimes against women. In this regard, Shakespeares play is still relevant in todays society. It still mirrors our present society, and it is unfortunate that so many years after the play was written, we as a civilization are still grappling with the same issues.

Works cited

Adenstedt, Kay. "Shakespeare's Othello:" Racism in Othello?"." (2009). Print

Bolis, Amy L. Color-conscious Shakespeare: A Dramaturgical Investigation of "othello" and Its Legacy. , (2012). Print.

Tweg, Sue. William Shakespeare's Othello. Mentone, Vic: Insight Publications, (2000). Print.

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Analysis of William Shakespeares Tragedy Othello - Paper Example. (2021, May 28). Retrieved from

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