Analysis Essay: Othello

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Othello’s Downfall

Every tragic hero has a promising outlook before some fatal flaw destructs their future. Othello is introduced as a genuine character who is determined to prove his worth as a husband and noble soldier. As the general of Venice, he starts out in the play as honorable. He received the position of general by his outstanding excellence in the field of war. His courage, intelligence, and skill of command earned him the respect of his troops as well as his wife, Desdemona’s, love. Unfortunately, his position is questionable as he is easily misled and manipulated, making the play end in tragedy. Othello has three main flaws that lead up to his downfall. His flaws are allowing himself to fall for Iago’s malicious plot, his raging jealousy, and his mistrust in his wife, Desdemona.

The villain Iago, who appears to be an honest and trustworthy friend, manipulates Othello into believing that his wife is guilty of infidelity. He does this because Othello appointed Cassio, who is of military knowledge, to be his lieutenant over Iago. Iago feels that he was more deserving of a promotion over Cassio. Having done so, Iago comes up with what he believes is a deserving revenge plan against Othello. Since he feels that Othello committed injustice against him, he plans to destruct Othello’s marriage by using Cassio as the key to his villainous scheme. Iago’s plan of action involves the beloved handkerchief, which Othello presented to Desdemona as one of his first gifts of sentimental value. This is a key feature in Othello’s changing perceptions of Desdemona. With this handkerchief, Iago sets up Cassio. He leads Othello to suspect that his wife is having an affair by creating a lie on Desdemona and Cassio. He tells Othello that he saw Cassio wiping his beard with the exact same handkerchief that was given to Desdemona. Iago: Nay, but be wise. Yet we see nothing done;

She may be honest yet. Tell me but this:
Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief...
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